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“The Only Good Indians” is a modern-day story of spirit vengeance by Stephen Graham Jones. Years after four American Indian youths illegally slaughter a group of elk, they find themselves in a struggle for survival against an entity bent on revenge. Culture and tradition cannot be outrun. The book reads like 3 separate stories as the entity grows from spiritual to physical with each death. I enjoyed it.
This was the best horror novel I’ve read in a long time. I was captivated by the story and couldn’t tear my eyes away from the vivid descriptions. This novel may not be for the faint of heart. Stephen Graham Jones knows how to write a story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the final page. The characters are flawed and realistic and even the evil that follows them has an understandable depth. This book sticks with you.
The Only Good Indians is a supernatural story centered around the lives of 4 Blackfeet Indian men who unlawfully killed a large number of elk over 10 years ago and are now experiencing a "haunting" by a vengeful Elk Woman spirit. The Elk Woman appears to the men as a naked woman with a huge elongated elk head and glowing, yellow, violent eyes. One by one, she picks off each of the men. I have to admit that the short novel did not immediately envelop me as I found the characters names/nicknames and colloquial speech to be difficult to follow. The "meat" of the book begins once the reader recognizes that all of the male friends are being punished for the same act. The author certainly raises good points as to what can happen when traditions are eroded over time and the horror that can ensue when the environment finally bites back.
I found this story to be engaging from beginning to end. It’s a supernatural story about revenge. The characters feel like real people that you might know. I found myself in turns rooting for the four friends who just made a mistake and wanting elk-head woman to get her revenge. To me, that’s a mark of a skilled writer...making you feel for both sides. Reader be warned that there are some hard to read scenes where animals are hurt....essential to the story but still very disturbing.
The Only Good Indians takes a fairly basic horror trope and imaginatively retells it through a Native American lens. Inventive and engaging, the story touches on themes of heritage, identity and authority in novel ways. Overall, a well written and haunting tale that lingers with the reader.
The story immediately brings to mind a well-known Annie Proulx short story, "The Half-Skinned Steer." Set in Native American culture and mythology, this eerie horror novel follows a group of friends who commit an illegal and immoral slaughter of elk. The monstrous haunting that we all know is coming will keep you turning pages late into the night.
Visceral and ominous novel that flirts with pulp horror, but is also very much about tradition, identity, and history within the Native American community.
Did any editor even look at this? Awful, just plain awful. Only made it through a few pages of constant run-on sentences before I gave up. Life is too short for this garbage.
A brutal, haunting, and terrifying novel incorporating themes of identity, tradition, violence, and revenge. The complex, flawed characters are heartbreakingly believable while the revenge-seeking Elk Head Woman is completely original and amazing (I am enamored with the very idea of her). The story is firmly placed in the complexity of contemporary Native American life while wryly sending up social commentary and upending expectations - all done with an edge of brisk humor. The climax of the story is exciting, bizarre, and satisfying with an ending that provides a glimmer of hopefulness.
This book is a ghost story unlike any other you have read before. It is haunting, heart wrenching, fantastical, brutal, beautiful, and seeped in traditions meeting the modern world. This is by far my favourite Stephen Graham Jones book that I have read.
The dark inevitability of the conclusion of this horror novel made it hard for me to read. That said, it is well written and full of enough gore to make the die-hardest of horror novel fans throw up a teensy bit in their mouth. I also loved that this was a totally Native American centered story that required me to do a little bit of work to get how the narrative worked.
This novel has vivid characters and descriptions. Scenes are set clearly, and the author seamlessly transitions from one character's point-of-view to another's; from light and funny to disturbing and violent. I loved the social commentary regarding what it's like to be a modern Native American, and how each character views their identity and tradition. This one is not just for people who enjoy the horror genre.
Firstly, let me say that I only read about 80 pages of this novel. I guess I was intrigued by the title of the book, and also the promise of suspenseful horror. (which is right up my alley). I did find the title somewhat fitting( with the storyline): however I just couldn't figure out where the story was actually going. The author seems to have concocted a weird tale combining Indian folklore, "horror" and social commentary on treatment of Native Americans. Just not for me...
The Only Good Indians is a well written and superbly crafted horror story which takes place in the northwestern US and has characters from the Blackfeet and Crow tribes. Four young Blackfeet men embark on a badly planned and illegal elk hunt which results in a violation of tribal values and the desecration of nature. Ten years later, an entity exacts her revenge in a chilling, suspenseful and brutal fashion. The characters are incredibly well developed given the length of the novel, and the reader develops sympathy for them. The reader also empathizes with the perspective of the entity who pursues the four men. This story has great depth in its exploration of themes of cultural identity, tradition, social justice, revenge and respect for the natural world. Horror readers will love this, but I would also recommend this book for readers of fiction in general. I can see why this The Only Good Indians is receiving so much critical acclaim.