Thank you to Counterpoint Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This Town Sleeps is the debut novel from Dennis E. Staples and follows an openly gay Ojibwe man, Marion, who finds himself back on his reservation. He begins a secret relationship with an old classmate and faces some realities of being openly gay in a small town. While wondering his town, he awakens a spirit dog that leads him to the grave of a murdered Ojibwe boy. With this spirit following him, Marion investigates the boy’s death and learns more about himself along the way.
While this book is not long, I found it to be dense and packed with complexity. This was both a good thing and bad thing. It was a quick read, and I really appreciated the representation and insight into Ojibwe culture and traditions. I found the story telling to be fascinating.
The complexity could confuse me — I can’t count how many characters there were in the story. They all were important and shared their perspectives, but they jumped around and were not always introduced immediately. There were times when I had to go back and re-read to figure out who was speaking. Within chapters there were subchapters and anecdotes. Again, they were helpful for the big picture, but the format could be hard to follow.
Overall, I found this to be a very powerful read, especially for a debut novel. It can be challenging to follow at times, but it’s worth the effort.
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