BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Night of the Living Rez’ by Morgan Talty

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

There are many similarities here between other coming-of-age novels in communities in poverty, but this one has a fascinating setting, the Indian Island/Old Town/Penobscot reservation in Maine.

However, there’s not much about reservation life that differs from any other poor town in the poorest county in Maine.

David’s life, from boyhood to 28, and then to a coda in his 50s, is told in chapters that alternate dates and circumstances in a non-linear and sometimes confusing way, perhaps because there are two terrible tragedies that the author or an editor, decided needed to be inserted towards the end of the book.

The mothers and grandmothers hold up much more than half the sky and tolerate much abuse from the men in their lives while they try in vain to save their sons from addiction and irresponsibility and their fathers and stepfathers.

David sees and feels much, but can’t find a way out because his life is purposeless. The writing is good, but bleak subject and David’s inability to make any progress are maybe too realistic, without a pot of gold at the end.

QUOTE: “Paige was like that: time and time again, she slowly sank into some darkness, and then when it got no brighter she’d pack up and leave to chase the sun so it could never set.”

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