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Morgan Talty’s collection of linked short stories is set on the Penobscot Reservation on Indian Island in Maine. But Morgan is quick to point out that these stories are not Penobscot stories in so far as they do not ‘represent’ the Penobscot people, that even people who are praising the book are often falling into this trope of “exoticized foreknowledge.” As we talk about his acclaimed debut fiction collection, we talk about this term (coined by David Treuer), about the problematic ways people often come to literature written by Native Americans, and the ways Talty himself subverts these expectations. We talk about symbols in stories, about the challenges of being the sole well-known Penobscot fiction writer, about writing in a way that does not perform indigeneity for the white gaze and much more.
For the bonus audio archive Morgan contributes a reading of his essay “The Citizenship Question : We the People” which extends our discussion from the main conversation about blood quantum, Native identity, and questions of belonging. This joins an ever-growing archive of supplementary bonus audio, including from indigenous writers Terese Marie Mailhot, Elissa Washuta, Brandon Hobson, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, and Jake Skeets, among many others. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio archive and about the many other potential rewards and benefits of joining the community of Between the Covers listeners-supporters, head over to the show’s Patreon page.
Lastly, here is the Bookshop for today’s episode.