A good book but not my style

filled star filled star star unfilled star unfilled star unfilled
joaniehow Avatar


The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is a horror novel about an entity that tracks down four Blackfeet men after they slaughter a herd of elk. It’s a violent, grisly novel that also explores themes of Native American identity in between scenes of gore and death. It’s well-written and well-reviewed, although personally I can’t say it was my cup of tea.

Jones is a highly regarded horror author and I do acknowledge that The Only Good Indians goes deeper than the violence it presents. There’s an interesting narrative of how Native American tradition conflicts with contemporary life, which adds to the symbolism of the Elk Woman hunting down the main characters.


Ultimately I could not get into it. I think one was the supernatural antagonist, the Elk Woman, who, as her name would suggest, is some sort of elk spirit. There are creepy feels to the novel and elk have reverberance with Blackfeet culture, but – idk, I always think of elk as gentle, majestic creatures, rather than scary, malevolent ones. And everything that happened with the elk was just… strange. Doesn’t help that the elk hoof/hoofprint/hoofbeat is a recurring motif in the novel, and I just think it’s a funny word. Hoof. Hoof. Heh.

Honestly I think the biggest reason why I didn’t connect to the novel was Jones’ writing style. He tends to write in long run-on sentences, lots of clauses separated by commas. It adds a frantic (not to mention literary) feel to the novel, but also requires more concentration to understand what’s going on. He’s a disjointed storyteller as well, and often switches perspectives abruptly. End result: I got distracted a lot from the story.

Overall this was a weird book in a genre that I don’t read a lot of, with a writing style that didn’t appeal to me. So I can’t say I loved it, even though objectively I would still consider it a good book.