Sunday, 7 January 2018

Book Review: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

While walking through his house late one night, a fifteen-year old boy thinks he sees his long-dead father stepping through a doorway. What follows is an exploration of this young boy, his family, and Native American culture.

"In death, he had become what he never could in life. And now he was back."

I didn’t love this, nor did I hate it – I guess I’m just quite ambivalent about it. This is a really short novella and quite easy to just race through in one sitting. It did have a couple of unsettling or tense moments, and I liked the idea behind it, but the actual writing itself put me off at times. The sentences are quite choppy, which will sometimes work for me, but other times it will just irritate me – this was one of those times.

Mapping the Interior was a breath of fresh of air with regards to the Native American aspect, I’ve never really read any books before that explore Native American culture or superstition so that was really interesting and unique. It also felt quite raw and personal, with the protagonist and his brother, who is being bullied, coming across as particularly likeable. I also enjoyed how the story just kept going down routes that I hadn’t anticipated, although I feel like a lot of the meaning behind the story or the themes represented just went right over my head, perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more if I had picked up on those.

Overall, this is a pretty original “ghost story”, if you can even categorise it as that. I just wish I had understood it more. It wouldn’t put me off reading more from Stephen Graham Jones though!


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