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There Are Doors

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  867 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
There Are Doors is the story of a man who falls in love with a goddess from an alternate universe. She flees him, but he pursues her through doorways to the other place, determined to sacrifice his life if necessary for her love. For to love her . . . is to die.
Paperback, 313 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Tor Books (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

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Joshua Burns
May 04, 2012 Joshua Burns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As in any of Wolfe's book, we have a disoriented/untrustworthy narrator that makes the transition between worlds only the first layer to peel off in this mystical novel. We know as little as he does which makes the transition so beautiful and novel in the first place.

What sets this apart from his later work is unlikely enough the comprehensive nature. We can pretty much tell when the divisions between worlds occur. What remains for the reader to decide is whether this narrator is off-kilter or
Jul 26, 2014 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
3 Stars

I was hoping to like There are Doors more than I actually did. I am already a fan of Gene Wolfe and I am familiar with his work. He is an author that requires the reader to be open minded and at times to do work. This book is no exception, both the narrator and the story itself make it difficult for the reader to separate realities and to have any trust in what we are being told.

I loved the concept. What a star crossed love story of a Goddess, a man, and many worlds. This story just seeme
Apr 21, 2014 Bbrown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
There Are Doors contains all of the features you should expect from a Gene Wolfe book- unreliable narrator, multiple ways to interpret the action, names with hidden significance, stories within the story, etc. Unfortunately it doesn't present these features in a way that's as interesting as some of Wolfe's other work.

This book keeps you on uncertain footing for much longer than the average Wolfe book- it's not until the halfway mark that one explanation for the situation is spelled out, and whil
Daniel Petersen
'"That was a sad story," Tina Said. "Sometimes fairy tales are too much like real life. But I liked it."' (P. 248)

Some of the themes of this novel--goddesses, other worlds, and the yearning pursuit of one's 'True Love'--can variously be found in Wolfe's major multi-volume works, the Soldier series, the Book of the Long Sun tetralogy, and the Wizard-Knight duology. But here the wonder and mystery are served up in downbeat yet exotic contemporary urban settings, all the more enthralling for being
Dec 05, 2008 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
I had a bad experience with Gene Wolfe. I read his Book of the New Sun a long time ago, and found it both confused and confusing; I didn't like it.

I can enjoy complexity in a novel, but I like there to be a point to the whole thing. I like there to be some sort of fundamentally coherent plot. Too many books lack that. I hate books in which the protagonist (if there is one) is insane, or reality changes in arbitrary and unexplained ways...much as I love the 60's, I don't care for a lot of the wri
Grey Wolf
Jun 12, 2013 Grey Wolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books of all time.
Perry Whitford
Jul 07, 2014 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it
There Are Doors is the everyday tale of a shop assistant who falls in love with a goddess from a parallel universe. At least, this is everyday stuff from a writer with the incomparable imagination of Gene Wolfe.

The lovelorn man is named Mr. Green and the goddess has many names, but her color is undoubtedly white. She moves between the worlds via 'significant' doors, through which the ordinary yet noble Green is intent on following her.

Italian restaurants that double as doorways to another dimens
Brian Clegg
Aug 22, 2011 Brian Clegg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have just re-read this for about the fifth time, and it gets better with every reading. Arguably Wolfe's finest novel, this is almost a primer in how 'real world' fantasy ought to be written.

The one proviso is that if you are the sort of person that needs to know what is happening all the way through, you will be very frustrated, as to begin with the reader is in as much a state of mystery as the main character. I love the way Wolfe plays with us, making it not quite clear whether the fantasy
One thing to remember about Gene Wolfe's books - the narrator isn't always right. Sometimes, the narrator is dreadfully mistaken. And sometimes, the narrator is outright lying. This really keeps you on your toes.
Josie Boyce
Jun 21, 2012 Josie Boyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favourite books.
Jessie Hartley
Feb 11, 2017 Jessie Hartley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite of Wolfe's books, though like all the others I found it a challenge to read. I love the fluidity with which the protagonist transcends the fabric between his world and the myriad others in pursuit of the goddess he has become infatuated with.
Dec 02, 2012 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Battaglia
Something that maybe we can all agree on is that Gene Wolfe is smarter than we are. I'm not saying he's the smartest man alive or about to give Stephen Hawking a run for his money but based on printed evidence alone a fairy good case can be made that when it comes to this thing called "literature", he can think rings around all of us. Just about all of his books mask hideous complexities that can only be hinted at when you're reading it purely for the sounds of the words. Like a dark shape passi ...more
Kate Sherrod
Aug 06, 2012 Kate Sherrod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, if anyone was going to pull off a third person unreliable narrator right, it was going to have to be Gene Wolfe, and yes, he did it, brilliantly. Which is to say that my brain hurts kind of a lot right now from being turned inside out, marked with chalk, tried on by a crazy man to see if it will fit, altered by a seamstress and worn in a blizzard by... well, is it the same crazy man? Most likely. But then, is it the same crazy man in the same crazy world?

There Are Doors' protagonist, occas
Simon Mcleish
Jan 19, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in April 2002.

Most of Wolfe's novels have a setting which seems to be fantasy rather than traditional science fiction; There Are Doors, a homage to Philip K. Dick, is an exception. When his lover Lara disappears, Mr Green (the central character is never given a first name) sets out to find her, but is soon caught up in a series of parallel universes accessed through "doors". His adventures include incarceration in a mental hospital and being on the run from t
Oct 10, 2007 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THERE ARE DOORS was the first of Gene Wolfe's late-1980's fantastical fiction works, the others being CASTLEVIEW and PANDORA. After his acclaimed four-volume work The Book of the New Sun and its coda, THE URTH OF THE NEW SUN, and two fantasy novels set in ancient Greece (the "Soldier" series), these fantastical fiction works were a very different offering from an author known for his science fiction.

THERE ARE DOORS is the story of an appliance salesman who has a week-long relationship with, so w
Feb 19, 2017 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unreliable narrator, but the in third person. A man chases after a goddess, but is she real or is he just delusional? Is he really moving from one world to another, or just hallucinating?
Apr 25, 2013 Skjam! rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gene Wolfe fans
Mr. Green has hooked up with Lara, a woman he knows almost nothing about. After a week, she disappears, leaving only a note explaining that “there are doors” and that he must not go through them. Mr. Green promptly manages to stumble through such a door and finds himself in what appears to be an alternate Earth. An Earth where Lara is a goddess, and men die if they have sex.

Mr. Green is an unreliable viewpoint character–even if he isn’t delusional or suffering from hallucinations, there’s plenty
Feb 19, 2011 Kilat1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, the pleasures of a Gene Wolfe novel. To be sure, not to everyone's taste; oftentimes odd, coming from far left field. Never a relaxing read, Wolfe's books are always a detective story completely separate from the plot itself, thanks to that most frustrating and rewarding of literary devices, the unreliable narrator.

Told from the protagonist's perspective (not in first person), "There Are Doors" is essentially a love story: a man wakes and finds the woman he has fallen in love with gone, with
De Gene Wolfe he leído Soldados en la niebla, que me enamoró, y llegué a empezar La sombra del torturador, que no conseguí terminar. Así que tenía curiosidad por ver a dónde me llevaba Wolfe con este libro. La narración es algo enrevesada e incluso incoherente. El personaje principal no se pregunta nada y solo asume lo que le va pasando. Yo creo que cualquier otro en esa situación se haría más preguntas, dudaría más. Pero no. La inconsistencia del personaje y los abruptos cambios de rumbo en la ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those Gene Wolfe "middle books" that he wrote between the "New Sun" and "Long Sun" series in the 1980s. And, like several of his other stand-alone novels, it has some brilliant ideas and moments, sprinkled with some choppy ones. Wolfe sticks to his minimalist approach in telling the tale of a man who finds himself jumping between our dimension and an slightly alternate Earth, pursuing a goddess who flits in and out of his life (a theme he explored more completely with his Wizard-K ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Mjhancock rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have to say, this book didn't really appeal to me. The concept, that you can get yourself lost between worlds by going through the wrong doors, is appealing. And so is the constant questioning of the narrator's sanity. Even the book's central conceit, the exploration of a desperate, searching love, could have been fairly compelling. Instead, it felt to me like it was a bit of smoke-and-mirrors--it all seemed very mysterious, but what was going on was actually fairly simple. Not to mention that ...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
THERE ARE DOORS is the story of an appliance salesman who has a week-long relationship with, supposedly a goddess from another dimension. She leaves him for her home, and warns him not to go through any doors. However, he follows her, traveling through doors hoping to find her. For some reason he seems to keep finding himself in a mental institution. Then, unexpectedly he lands in her dimension where there are major differences from our Earth: there after mating male humans die, like bee drones, ...more
I liked it ... but I wasn't absorbed by it. As Wolfe goes it's pretty disappointing. We lost the creation of a completely foreign world that felt somehow familiar and 'forgotten' and ended up with an extremely familiar world that just seemed different in a very mundane sense.

I may have expected too much, after the Sun books (long, short and new) it's hard not to expect absolute escape from his books and brilliance to boot. I don't feel like this book delivered either, but if it had been any othe
What a hallucination this was! At first romantic, then merely sad (I generally disapprove of chasing people who don't wish to be chased). It just beings to come 'round to a whelming sort of wistfulness at the end, at which point he seems to have got tired of writing. Disappointing. Pity there's no sequel (yet); it might make a passable lead-in to one.

Could do with re-reading to disentangle the multiple names of each character. Perhaps most annoyingly, it took a while to figure out that any ambig
Jun 19, 2011 Andreas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A very strange book and I am still wondering how everything fits together. The dark mood, the way how the main character gets manipulated and finally the distorted reality reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick. Unlike other books from Wolfe, enough clues are given to understand at least the surface level story, however, at the end I wasn't satisfied. The whole story is too crazy and doesn't offer much in return for the time spent with it.

Judge for yourself.
Mar 15, 2010 Liam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
hyper-reality in alternate universes makes for a book with a disorientating reader positioning - think difficult but inquisitive camera angle and different planes of existence.
i felt quite voyeuristic within the text, perhaps a symptom of its lack of responsivity and intense writing style. this is no bad thing however, as it made for a really interesting, if not slightly unsettingly experience.
Jun 28, 2011 Cher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Strange book--I tried to finish it, but finally just gave up because I didn't care what happened anymore! I am not sure if the protagonist is really traveling through doors to other dimensions looking for his love who is from another world (a goddess we are told and someone with whom he had known all of a week!) or if he is actually just a mental patient with severe hallucinations...but as I said, I got to where I didn't care and just turned off the audio player and went to bed!
Chris Hawks
Nov 29, 2010 Chris Hawks rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Weeeiird. But good. Thankfully it's a short book, because I had close to no idea what was going on until halfway through. But after that, I couldn't put it down. Gene Wolfe has a singular talent for making you go "Wait. What?" and start flipping pages back to find that one phrase or passage that you can't quite remember but suddenly realize was incredibly significant.
R.R. Wolfgang
Jan 05, 2013 R.R. Wolfgang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting pacing and voice. Even the simple things were poetic - from reading a book, to dusting, to stepping through a door into a different (but similar) world, I was enthralled. I can't wait to read more of Gene Wolfe's work.
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Gene Wolfe is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith, to which he converted after marrying a Catholic. He is a prolific short story writer and a novelist, and has won many awards in the field.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is given by SFWA for ‘lifetime achievement in science fict
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“There's a certain kind of lonely man who rejects love, because he believes that anyone who offers it wouldn't be a lover worth having.” 19 likes
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