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Mapping the Interior: A Tor.com Original Paperback – 20 June 2017
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Blackfeet author Stephen Graham Jones brings readers a spine-tingling Native American horror novella.
Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.
The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you'd rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, chasing the ghost of his father and the promise of his Native American heritage, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save his family . . . at terrible cost.
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Brilliant. --The New York TimesStephen Graham Jones's Mapping the Interior is a triumph. So emotionally raw, disturbing, creepy, and brilliant. You will not be unmoved. You will not be unaffected. It's a ghost story in the truest, darkest, most melancholy sense. Stephen knows we are haunted by our parents, our families, and our shared pasts as much as we are haunted by ourselves; haunted by who we were, who we become, and who we could've been. --Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock Stephen Graham Jones's chilling Mapping the Interior is part S.E. Hinton and part Shirley Jackson. It's about being young and broke, and that moment when you first wonder who your parents really are. The answers are out there, but they will leave you haunted forever. --Richard Kadrey, author of the Sandman Slim series Mapping the Interior is Jones at his best. --PANK Magazine A chilling tale told from a less-heard perspective, Mapping the Interior is the type of horror story you keep on your shelf for regular hauntings. --Rue Morgue Mapping the Interior is thus a masterful critique of time, place, and memory in (post/de)colonial contexts that surfaces questions urgent for Native literature, horror fiction, and American history. --World Literature Today Wonderfully refreshing and not to be missed. --Publishers Weekly
- Publisher : St. Martins Press-3PL (20 June 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 112 pages
- ISBN-10 : 076539510X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765395108
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 0.68 x 20.32 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 230,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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I discovered this novella via PerpetualPages on YouTube. It’s a little out of my comfort zone but I’m glad I picked it up as it was a delightfully creepy read!
The reservation setting and culture is woven so deeply into the fabric of this story that it truly becomes a character in and of itself. I’ve not read many (any?) ownvoices Native lit, and I want to make a concerted effort to change this in 2019 because this was such a fantastic reading experience.
The writing style is admittedly confusing and difficult to get into at first, yet somehow it added to the strangeness and otherworldliness of the story. You’re never quite sure how much to buy into what’s happening; unsure whether this is a genuine supernatural occurrence or perhaps a tale of mental illness and grief.
And the way in which this story comes full circle is nothing short of masterful. It’s not often that books will take my breath away, but I audibly gasped when I realised where the story was headed!
Be warned that there is some nasty animal murder/gore depicted on page. I’m really sensitive to this and wish I’d known going in - though I ultimately found it less upsetting than animal cruelty in crime fiction, if that counts for anything.
Such a good book. Such a good book.
Top reviews from other countries
Mapping the Interior is a unique piece of fiction in many ways. For one, Jones’ prose is unbelievably beautiful; almost lyrical. It has a deceptive flow to it which lulls the reader into appreciation of Jones’ story-telling without at first noticing that the story’s narrator is totally unreliable. In some ways, Mapping the Interior is reminiscent of what now may be an almost forgotten, albeit brilliant novel, The Kryptonite Kid (1979) by Joseph Torchia in which the reader is forced to evaluate and try to detect fantasy from reality. Jones’ narrator, however, makes it even more difficult than does Torchia’s.
There is no doubt that by time Jones’ narrator sees his father’s ghost that the boy is haunted; but by exactly what? Determined to see his father again, the boy tries to trigger more sleep-walking episodes and he goes so far as to draw a map of the family’s floor plan to their inadequate modular house—including under it—to try to find evidence of his father’s presence. The book’s title, thus, becomes a wonderful metaphor for the boy’s internal search of the house as well as himself.
During all of Mapping the Interior there are moments of realist family drama and interactions between the two brothers and between the brothers and their mother. Some scenes reflect great love. Some reflect tragedy and fear. Growing up for those that are considered different and who do not have much of any luxury to fall back upon is difficult. However, in Mapping the Interior there are also genuinely frightening events—made all the more alarming by the fact that the line between reality and fantasy is a blur throughout and the narrator’s citing of events is filled with misleading contradictions. The ground upon which the reader stands is ever uncertain and shifting.
By time readers reach the end of the novel they will most likely have gained some greater appreciation of modern American Indian life and the trials many of those individuals face without having been preached to by Jones. As per the plot and story, readers who must have everything spelled out for them in black and white with every loose end neatly tied up are likely to be disappointed. Mapping the Interior will best be appreciated by readers who revel in superb writing and who enjoy experiencing a wonderful literary experience and a small glimpse of the terrors of the unknown and the confusion that can be wrought by the human psyche. Because of its length, readers will be tempted to consume all of Mapping the Interior in a single sitting, but that would be like chugging a fine wine meant to be sipped and would not do justice to this short, but phenomenal work of art.
Briefly, this is the story of a young boy of Native American heritage who deeply misses his dead father, a ne'er-do-well who'd always dreamed, fruitlessly, of becoming a ceremonial dancer. The boy struggles with his grief and yearning, and he also takes responsibility for the protection of his younger, mentally disabled brother. When the youth believes he has seen his father's ghost in their house, he decides to do all he can to help his dad return to life.
Some situations, especially involving a neighbor's vicious dogs, are as scary as any supernatural occurrences. Overall, "Mapping the Interior" is an atmospheric page-turner; short, but a good, scary, thought-provoking read.
A twelve year old isn't exactly a kid, isn't a teen yet, can't quite be anything because nothing...literally no thing...is stable, permanent, fully itself in his head. And we all know that Reality is just a shared fantasy. At least, all of us whose lives have changed because impossible, fantastic, unreal things have happened to us.
Make no mistake, this story will not leave you unchanged. It might, if you're a particular kind of person, leave you alone with memories you didn't much want to believe were still there. It could, for a different kind of person, be terrifying and strange to mentally see a dead person walking through a room.
You won't know which you are until you read these hundred:-plus pages. Which you need to do.
Still here? Go get this story! Scoot!