I love talking to writers. Learning about their inspirations, their histories … it’s all a delight.

I particularly enjoy speaking to writers about their debuts. Authors whose first books are about to be thrust into the spotlight. Their darlings – the surviving ones, at any rate – set loose into the world, no longer under the control of their creator.

And if that author is a Mainer, well … so much the better.

Morgan Talty, whose debut book “Night of the Living Rez” has just hit shelves, covers all those bases. Talty, a member of the Penobscot Nation, grew up in the area and lives here still. His memories and experiences from that time largely inform the (exceptional) stories that make up his newly published collection.

(Note: You can read my full review of "Night of the Living Rez" here.)

Mr. Talty was kind enough to speak to me recently about his new book. In a wide-ranging conversation, we discussed the book, his writing process and how these stories pull from both his lived experience and the depths of his imagination.

Published in Buzz

It’s a rare thing to be really and truly grabbed by a book. Sure, there are works that will hold your attention long enough to allow you to sink into them. And sometimes, that connection never bears out and you abandon ship. But for a book to seize you by the shirt, commanding and demanding your attention and refusing to let go from the word go, well … that doesn’t happen very often.

But it does happen. And when it does? Strap in, because you’re going on a journey.

Morgan Talty’s new book “Night of the Living Rez” (Tin House, $16.95) is going to take you on a trip, pulling you through a world with which you are likely unfamiliar, even as it exists alongside your own. This collection of a dozen stories is a reflection and exploration of Talty’s history and heritage as a member of the Penobscot Nation, bringing together moments of triumph and tragedy as it digs into the realities of what it means to be connected to one’s culture while also striving to live in the larger world.

Every one of these stories is effective on its own, brimming with a bifurcated and self-aware energy. But as they are consumed together, they feed on one another, spiraling upward on waves of simple joy and sadness and dark humor generated by the trials and tribulations of a singular young man. This is a book that is more than the sum of its parts, each tale a piece of the puzzle; it all comes together into a smart, thoughtful and utterly fascinating big picture.

Published in Style


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