From the Shadows

208 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $17.99
ISBN: 9781942658665


ISBN: 9781942658672

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“Begins as entertaining slapstick, subtly metamorphoses into fable. . . . As [the narrator’s] vivid imaginary world fuses with reality this deceptively ethereal novel advances toward a dark and startling finale.”

Wall Street Journal

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“Spectacularly surreal and cerebral. . . . [From the Shadows] carves a labyrinthine path through a mind withstanding both physical and mental confinements, and the language, rife with darkness and comedy, traces the fine walls of worlds both real and imagined with Kafkaesque soliloquy.”

Asymptote Journal

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“A seductive narrator, brisk dialogue, and a unique claustrophobic setting contribute to a distinctive blend of Kafka’s surrealism and Pirandello’s absurdism. . . . A quick, riveting read.”

World Literature Today

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“The compact, surreal story . . . is uproarious and unnerving in equal measure, and is far too riveting to put down.”


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“Hilarious and unique.”

Crime Reads

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“Equal parts psychotic, suspenseful, and tenderly funny. . . . This novel forever changed how I feel when I’m home alone.”

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“Incredibly strange, truly bizarre—one of the most original stories. . . . Impossible to put down.”

Shelf Unbound

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“An entertainingly presented look at social isolation and dependency.”

Complete Review

“A fable of survival in a consumerist society.”

Seattle Review of Books

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“Part surreal comedy, part dark parable, Millás’s wild work brings readers face to face with the mundane facets of middle-class suburban life. . . . A page-turner of the strangest order, Millás’s debut stuns and entrances. It’s impossible to put down.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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“A compelling stew of comedy, philosophy, and even tragedy, From the Shadows maintains a light touch, even as sinister undertones bubble underneath.”

Foreword Reviews

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“Spectacularly bizarre. . . . A Kafkaesque story about transformation and our collective human desire to connect with one another.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“A penetrating parable of suburban family life. . . . Millás tells a compelling story of human connection in a way that is sometimes crude but also darkly funny, insightful and ultimately surprising.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

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“I had a blast reading this book!”

Caitlin Luce Baker, Island Books (Mercer Island, WA)

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“A strange, delightful, weird little book!”

Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX)

“Compellingly weird.”

Keith Mosman, Powell’s Books (Portland, OR)

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“An irresistible—and utterly strange—experience. A novel you must read to believe.”

Justin Walls, Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton, OR)

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“Creepy and completely immersive. I couldn’t help but become an audience member in the narrator’s fantasy world.”

Kari Bingham-Gutierrez, Olathe Public Library (Olathe, KS)

Laid off from his job, Damián Lobo obsessively imagines himself as a celebrity being interviewed on TV. After committing an act of petty theft at an antiques market, he finds himself trapped inside a wardrobe and delivered to the seemingly idyllic home of a husband, wife, and their internet-addicted teenage daughter. There, he sneaks from the shadows to serve as an invisible butler, becoming deeply and disastrously involved with his unknowing host family. Every thread of the plot is ingeniously tied together, creating a potent admixture of parable, love story, and thriller. Millás masterfully reveals the everyday as innately surreal as he renders the unbelievable tangible and the trivial fantastical, and full of dark humor.

From the Shadows is translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead and Daniel Hahn.

Publishers Weekly “Top 10 Books of the Year” selection

Thrillist “Best Books of the Year” selection

World Literature Today “Notable Translations of the Year” selection

Asymptote Book Club selection

Crime Reads “Great Novels Where Things Disappear” selection

Words Without Borders “Watchlist” selection

Big Other Book Award Finalist

Literary Hub “Booksellers’ Year in Reading” selection

Powell’s Books “Favorite Books of the Year” selection

Island Books Staff Pick

New York Public Library “Contemporary Classics Book Discussion” selection

North Canton Public Library “Adult Summer Reading” selection


Excerpt from From the Shadows

Join the Asymptote Book Club discussion about Juan José Millás’s “spectacularly surreal and cerebral” novel From the Shadows and read more about Thomas Bunstead and Daniel Hahn’s co-translation process.

“Features one of the most memorable closets since C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Publishers Weekly interviews “Writer to Watch” Juan José Millás about his North American debut novel From the Shadows.

Designer Tree Abraham discusses the evolution of the From the Shadows cover art with Spine Magazine.