Monday, September 7, 2020

Review: The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As usual, SGJ blows me away. I want to give a content warning but for some it might be a spoiler so proceed at your own risk: (view spoiler)

Ten years before the time of this novel, four friends who grew up together shot a bunch of elk on lands protected by their Blackfeet elders. Strange things start happening....

I just can't spoil it for you, read it.

In discussing it (on a future episode of someone else's podcast) I really started to notice how clever Jones is. First, he changes tenses as the story changes, and this really messes with your head in delicious ways. Since he's writing what he calls "Indian" characters, he openly applies some of the tropes you often encounter when reading about indigenous people but then spins them around - I felt like I could see him chuckling at some of the clever turns some of them take. There are moments that required me to go back and be like, wait, what just happened OH DAMN THAT JUST HAPPENED. He tricked me into liking the characters and how real they feel, and how real their relationships with each other feel, and then he would have bad things happen to them. I'm still not sure I fully understand the ending (but enjoyed rereading it.)

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