A taut literary thriller investigating the contemporary aftermath of Mormonism’s closeted and violent past.
When Rudd, a troubled teenager, embarks on a school research project, he runs across a series of articles in the 1902 New York Times chronicling a vicious murder committed by the grandson of Brigham Young and involving the secret Mormon ritual of blood sacrifice. Along with his newly discovered half-brother, Rudd 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 with minor injuries and few memories. Lyndi, the daughter of the victims, tries to help Rudd piece together his memory and together they forge a bond unique to survivors of terrible tragedy. Desperate to protect Lyndi but still caught in a web of secrecy and confusion, Rudd short-circuits their Mormon wedding ceremony, plunging them both deeper into the violent past by giving himself and Lyndi new secret names—names that match the killer and the victim of the 100-year-old murder.
2007 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original Finalist
2007 Paterson Fiction Prize Finalist
2007 International Horror Guild Award for a novel Finalist
2007 Utah Book Award Finalst
2007 Believer Book Awards Reader Survey List
A Time Out New York Best Book of the Year for 2007
“There is not a more intense, prolific, or apocalyptic writer of fiction in America than Brian Evenson.” —George Saunders
“There’s a touch of the time-shifting of Lost Highway in here, and the colors of Suspiria, and the soundtrack of Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss , and a whole other strange register which throughout it all just seems like a calm story dictated to you by a stranger in your sleep.”—VICE
“The Open Curtain rearranged what I thought novels were capable of, what I thought I wanted from endings, and reading the rest of Evenson’s body of work offered similarly disorienting and entrancing experiences.” —The Believer, “5×5: Brian Evenson”
“No matter what book of Evenson’s we’re talking about, a reader might indeed feel like something had been inflicted upon him, after spending time inside Evenson’s books, which are so frequently violent and disorienting, destabilizing norms of behavior just as they destabilize identity, place, memory.”—Believer Logger
“I have recommended [The Open Curtain] to more people than any other book. I hope that means many of my friends have read it, or will. Have you read it? You should read it. It’s something else, seriously.”—Gabriel Blackwell, Shelf Awareness