Mapping the Interior
By Stephen Graham Jones
Mapping the Interior is a horrifying, inward-looking novella from Stephen Graham Jones that Paul Tremblay calls “emotionally raw, disturbing, creepy, and brilliant.”
Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.
The house is the kind of wrong place where you can lose yourself and find things you’d rather not have. Over the course of a few nights, the boy tries to map out his house in an effort that puts his little brother in the worst danger, and puts him in the position to save them . . . at terrible cost.
Mapping the Interior is a stirring novella that is difficult to label. While there is a certainly element of horror and the paranormal occurring within its absorbing pages, there is something more magical happening.
Mapping the Interior is the story of a 15 yr old boy who is unexpectedly reacquainted with his father after leaving the reservation. However, there is a small complication with the encounter. His father lost his life under unexplained circumstances. What ensues is a poignant tale of life, loss and family and that is beautifully saturated with culture and wonder.
We are supplied with a young protagonist who is facing adversity on multiple levels. Young Junior is mourning the loss of a father that he cannot fully comprehend. He is living off of the reservation and adjusting to a new life that is not without challenges. He holds an adherent obligation to protect his younger brother Dino who is suffering what can best be described as seizures and cognitive impairment. His single mother is at the disadvantage of struggling to provide full financial support for the family, while also attending to Dino’s healthcare needs. We are thrust into a dismal environment that quickly plays on the emotions, creating an intense experience that will obscure the lines between reality and fantasy.
This is a ghost story brilliantly utilized to fashion a tale of discovery and realization. Haunting components are manipulated in order to carry Junior through a journey that will dare him to confront a difficult past and the reality of the present. Sometimes things are not as they seem. Sometimes we must look deep within ourselves to find the answers and closure we seek.
Mapping the Interior is as refreshing as it is transfixing. Culture, grief and family dynamics merge to construct an unforgettable story that evokes multiple emotions and resonates with powerful meaning. This is likely to be a very personalized experience with each encounter. I am resolutely giving Mapping the Exterior the highest recommendation.
* I would like to thank Tor for providing me with this copy. The review above is my own unbiased opinion.