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This title in other editions

The Open Curtain

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The Open Curtain Cover

ISBN13: 9781566891882
ISBN10: 1566891884
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Rudd, a troubled teenager, embarks on a school project, he runs across a series of articles from the 1902 New York Times chronicling a vicious murder committed by the grandson of Brigham Young. Delving deeply into the Mormon ritual of blood sacrifice used in the murders, Rudd, along with his newly discovered half-brother, Lael, becomes swept up in the psychological and atavistic effects of this violent, antique ritual.

As the past and the present become an increasingly tangled knot, Rudd is found at the scene of a multiple murder at a remote campsite with minor injuries and few memories. Lyndi, the daughter of the victims, tries to help Rudd recover his memory and, together, they find a strength unique to survivors of terrible tragedies. But Rudd, desperate to protect Lyndi and unable to let the past be still, tries to manipulate their Mormon wedding ceremony to trick the priests (and God) by giving himself and Lyndi new secret names—names that match the killer and the victim in the one hundred-year-old murder. The nightmare has just begun . . .

Review:

"Evenson (Altmann's Tongue) explores some controversial Mormon history in this thoughtful thriller rooted in an actual century-old murder case. When Rudd, a disaffected, fatherless Mormon teenager living in an unspecified part of Utah, discovers he has a half-brother, Lael, in suburban Provo, the two meet and embark on a strange friendship. While researching a school project, Rudd learns from a series of stories in the New York Times about a murder committed by William Hooper Young, a grandson of Brigham Young, the Mormon pioneer. In 1902, William Young was tried for, and convicted of, the murder of Anna Pulitzer. The crime cast a dark shadow on the Church of the Latter-Day Saints by exposing such arcane, perhaps doctrinal concepts as 'blood atonement,' a disturbing idea about the saving of a Mormon soul by shedding someone else's blood. This macabre backstory, coupled with Rudd's increasingly fractured mental state, results in a contemporary gothic tale about the apocalyptic connection between religion and violence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A taut literary thriller investigating the contemporary aftermath of Mormonism's closeted and violent past.

About the Author

BRIAN EVENSON is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently The Open Curtain (Coffee House) which was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an IHG Award and was among Time Out New York's top books of 2006. He lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown Universitys Literary Arts Program. Other books include The Wavering Knife (which won the IHG Award for best story collection) and The Brotherhood of Mutilation. He has translated work by Chrstian Gailly, Jean FrEmon and Jacques Jouet. He has received an O. Henry Prize as well as an NEA fellowship. A novel, Last Days, and a new collection of stories, Fugue State, are forthcoming in 2009.

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voteidaho, January 29, 2007 (view all comments by voteidaho)
The main character of this novel, like the main character in Evenson's first book of fiction, The Father of Lies, is haunted by a demonic friend. In The Father, the friend is presented as a spirit or dead man; in any case his body is cooked and flayed. His name is "Bloody-head." But in The Open Curtain, the friend is not presented as a dead man, but the real half-brother of the main character, Rudd, a Mormon-raised teenager living in Utah. The friend's name is Lael, similar to Leland, the demonically possessed character in the Twin Peaks series who kills a young woman and whose name is similar to Woland, a literary name for the devil. The importance of this association is that it perhaps reveals the reason why Evenson presented his demon character as an ordinary American boy, albeit a decidedly violent, malevolent one, a sort of twisted Tom Sawyer, instead of a demon less vulnerable, like "Bloody-head." For in the novel, Evenson draws upon historical, whether real or imaginary, newspaper sources as a stimuli for violence, as a maddengingly unclear confusion between past and present.

But then what are these sources? They are murders, supposedly committed by the grandson of the famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young, and an unknown, perhaps fabricated associate of his.

The novel is also about memory, or the loss thereof, for the main character, Rudd, for the more he associates himself with his crazy half-brother, Lael, the more he has blackouts. And it is with these continuing blackouts that Rudd increasingly feels a sense of unreality and a certain power or knowledge of what to do just about beyond his reach, as well as an unusual ability, or subjectivity, as it were, of seeing whatever he is thinking in all the writing he reads, including textbooks.

I will not reveal much more about the book, except to say, that as a person raised in the Mormon territory of Southern Idaho, I can appreciate much of the scenery, the sets and schemes for Evenson's novel. For example, the town of Springville, where much of the action is set, is a place my Mormon grandmother lived during the last years of her life. It is also a place I traversed with this same grandmother with my mother back from a mostly Mormon family reunion in Arizona, and it is there, in the car, in a food cart of a mall, that she continually submitted to the scariest of panic attacks.

This book is like reality.



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Product Details

ISBN:
9781566891882
Author:
Evenson, Brian
Publisher:
Coffee House Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20061031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
223
Dimensions:
8.9 x 6 x 0.6 in 11.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Open Curtain Used Trade Paper
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$7.95 In Stock
Product details 223 pages Coffee House Press - English 9781566891882 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Evenson (Altmann's Tongue) explores some controversial Mormon history in this thoughtful thriller rooted in an actual century-old murder case. When Rudd, a disaffected, fatherless Mormon teenager living in an unspecified part of Utah, discovers he has a half-brother, Lael, in suburban Provo, the two meet and embark on a strange friendship. While researching a school project, Rudd learns from a series of stories in the New York Times about a murder committed by William Hooper Young, a grandson of Brigham Young, the Mormon pioneer. In 1902, William Young was tried for, and convicted of, the murder of Anna Pulitzer. The crime cast a dark shadow on the Church of the Latter-Day Saints by exposing such arcane, perhaps doctrinal concepts as 'blood atonement,' a disturbing idea about the saving of a Mormon soul by shedding someone else's blood. This macabre backstory, coupled with Rudd's increasingly fractured mental state, results in a contemporary gothic tale about the apocalyptic connection between religion and violence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
A taut literary thriller investigating the contemporary aftermath of Mormonism's closeted and violent past.
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