The King of Limbo
In stories that move deftly from the magical to the mundane, the simple to the surreal, The King of Limbo showcases a mature talent that calls to mind such greats as Alice Munro and Andre Dubus. Here are drifters, waitresses, horse trainers, housewives, a Nigerian foreign exchange student, a fisherman's wife, a cat with a cause. Blending magical realism and a pitch-perfect ear for the expressions of the human heart, Adrianne Harun presents a cast of unforgettable characters caught in limbo between their reality and their dreams.
Set in locales as diverse as a fictional town on the Northwest coast and a Connecticut boarding school, these stories chart physical and emotional landscapes with equal precision and grace. Vacationers dawdle in souvenir shops. Locals quietly observe the superstitions of the sea. A woman, overcome by the loss of a child, runs her car into a Victorian house, only to be adopted by its elderly residents. A killer on the loose prompts a newlywed couple to employ a mannequin as a decoy for marital bliss.
"Harun's penchant for taking a bizarre premise and filling it in with persuasive if eccentric details is reminiscent, here and there, of Flannery O'Connor. Unusual and sophisticated work from a gifted newcomer who has the skills to become an equally promising novelist."
— Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"Harun's tales occupy an alluring dark dimension, one that is both mystical and also eminently recognizable, one where unresolved problems—and especially paradoxes—are the norm."
"These uprooted lives read like dreamscapes spun from fierce realities, in prose radiating intelligence, panache, and wild humor."
---O, The Oprah Magazine
"In The King of Limbo, Adrianne Harun writes beautifully of the world we thought we knew, showing it to us from unexpected angles, and introduces us to her own unmistakable world. Her fierce, delightful stories are like no one else's. This is an enthralling collection."
— Margot Livesey
"Magical. . . Adrianne Harun possesses the rare ability to see the world at an odd tilt that makes everything appear new, at times even to shimmer."
— Richard Russo
"These are eloquent stories about restlesness and longing. In them Adrianne Harun manipulates darkness and light, humor and pathos, the familiar and the strange, managing both to reveal the peculiarity at the heart of the commonplace and to transform the extraordinary into something inevitable and real."
— Alice McDermott
"Adrianne Harun's stories are elegant, mysterious, and polished. They balance perfectly on the edge between ordinary life and dreams. Her landscapes are places you would love to visit, and her characters, be they hopeful, grieving, or disquieted, are rendered with great sympathy. The King of Limbo is a wonderful work of the imagination."
— Jean Thompson
"Adrianne Harun's stories are elegant, funny, and well designed."
— Charles Baxter
"These stories surprise at first, literary and wild, and then get funny, and then you read them for the pleasure alone. We may properly expect things of Adrianne Harun."
— Padgett Powell
"A most impressive debut . . . These stories sparkle like expertly cut gems."
— Denver Post
"The potential that Harun reveals in this collection is immense."
— Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A diverse collection . . . These stories succeed as quirky examples of how strange the world looks to people who are not at home in it."
— New York Times Book Review
"Harun is a witty, sure-handed writer whose work shines with real originality."
— Baltimore Sun
"[Harun] is capable of rendering genuinely moving moments and creating multilayered stories that prove she is a writer worth watching."
— Chicago Tribune
"Compelling . . . interesting and edgy. Harun approaches loneliness from unexpected angles."
— San Diego Union-Tribune