”A Native vampire! That is so cool!”

An enjoyably quirky vampire novel by an Anishinabe (Ojibwa) writer. Anishinabe teenager Tiffany Hunter has normal teenage problems: her mother took off a year ago, her father hates the white boy she’s dating (and the white boy, unbeknownst to Tiffany, is a real jerk), and she’s flunking all her classes. And one not-so-normal problem: the bed-and-breakfast tenant in the basement is a vampire.

Despite the very YA premise, I’m not sure this is really a YA novel. A lot of the humor comes from the adult writer’s recollection of how absurd it is to be a teenager; it’s not mean humor, but it is based on distance. It’s also, interestingly, in omniscient point of view and even has a section from the perspective of an owl.

I enjoyed the offbeat voice and sense of humor of this novel, though there was some clunky prose and the occasional overheated metaphor that may not have been funny in the way the author intended it to be. Or maybe it was! The deadpan style made it hard to tell. The vampire is not sparkly or glamorous, but creepy and sad, bearing the weight of history. He has a weakness for truly terrible vampiric double entendres, which, again, may or may not have been intended to be hilariously over the top. (“I have a lot of different types of blood flowing through my veins.”) Thankfully, the possibility of romance between him and Tiffany is not even raised.

The ending, though a bit anvillicious at points, also had moments of true beauty and power.

Uneven but worth reading, particularly if you’re tired of white vampires.

The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel


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