Mapping the Interior

January 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

mappingMapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

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I keep hearing a lot of good about Stephen Graham Jones. He’s considered to be one of the “new horror” authors creating a buzz, and since I’ve touched on John Langan, David Nickel, and Laird Barron, I figured it was time to touch on Jones, too. He’s written a bunch of stuff, though, so I started with Mapping the Interior, since it’s newer, and since it’s short.

The story is about a young Native American boy who sees his dead father walking through his house one night. From there, he begins an investigation, one which doesn’t just answer his questions about his father, who died when he was four, but also raises new questions about himself. The story has a focus on Native American culture, but shies away from using that as the source of the horror. This is refreshing, since older horror uses Native Americans as tropes instead of characters, and it certainly helps that Jones is himself Native American.

Jones’ imagery is fascinating. He creates a sense of disquiet through the events. The narrator’s father becomes more and more substantial as the story progresses, and the ways he interacts with the physical world make him more unnatural than if he were just a ghost. Jones avoids the tropes of the genre, and writes in a style that leaves the reader feeling a little out of sorts. He works hard to make the story effective, and it pays off.

Part ghost story, part coming-of-age story, and part surreal look at the world around us, Mapping the Interior is a cerebral horror novella that keeps you reading. It’s engaging and thoughtful, eerie and unsettling, and doesn’t rely on easy answers or conclusions. I feel like I’ve only just touched on what the novella has to say, and I can see myself revisiting it in a few years’ time to see what else I can discover in the story.

Started: October 21, 2017
Finished: October 23, 2017

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