Night of the Living Rez was such a completely satisfying read, and I wanted more. Told in the form of short stories, but really a novel that is both deeply personal and very big, incidents in the life of a Penobscot family as told by one member, a boy you get to know well and closely, and hope against hope that life would give him and everyone here a break. This book could be sad, but it resonates so deeply that it goes past sadness. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
How do the living come back to life?
Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.
In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty — with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight — breathes life into tales of family and community bonds as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family's unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's projects the past onto her grandson, and thinks he is her dead brother come back to life; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs.
In a collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of a Native community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction.
“There is so much brutal, raw, and beautiful power in these stories. I kept wanting to read and know more about these peoples' lives, how they ended up where they ended up, how they would get out, how they wouldn't. It is difficult to be so honest, and funny, and sad, at once, in any kind of work. Reading this book, I literally laughed and cried.” — Tommy Orange, author of There There
“Evokes the short, sad misadventures in Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son…For a fan of Johnson's work, the comparison forms with an instant, pleasurable shock.” — Publishers Weekly
“Night of the Living Rez is an indelible portrait of a family in crisis, and an incisive exploration of the myriad ways in which the past persists in haunting the present. I loved these sharply atmospheric, daring, and intensely moving stories, each one dense with peril and tenderness. Morgan Talty is a thrilling new talent.” — Laura van den Berg, author of I Hold a Wolf by the Ears
“Talty grapples with such complicated inheritances with tenderness and humor, with characters ranging from a boy who finds an old curse in a jar to a grandmother struggling with Alzheimer's.” — LitHub
“Twelve incredible stories…Haunting, insightful, and just plain excellent.” — Book Riot
About the Author
Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up. Named one of Narrative's "30 Below 30," Talty's work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. He lives in Levant, Maine.