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Mapping the Interior

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,418 ratings  ·  502 reviews
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 o
Paperback, 112 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Publishing
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Edward Lorn
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am the son of a half-Native America, half-Irish father. Dad had the Indian features and the jet black hair, the big Chief nose and the dark skin. But I was born looking like my mother's side of the family: towheaded, button-nosed, Elmer's glue white with some blush mixed in and completely immune to tanning. Because I looked like my mother and not my father, I didn't have the same life he did. My upbringing was far less eventful than he of the eleven brothers and sisters. My father and I had no ...more
This is a very haunting and atmospheric tale that I think many readers will interpret differently, and feel a vast range of emotions. This is ownvoices for the Native representations, and this novella stars a young boy, living on a reservation with his family, who is seeing his dead father's ghost. And his father's ghost is very different than the man our main characters remembers.

But this is a story about grief, and loss, and cycles of becoming our parents when sometimes we feel like we would
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mapping the Interior touched me in a way that's hard to define.

A young man, missing and thinking of the father who died before he could really be known, believes he saw his father coming through a doorway. From there, we learn more about this young man, his family, Native American culture, and superstitions.

In a way, this could be interpreted as a ghost story. In another interpretation it could be thought of a coming of age story-with perhaps a little psychological horror on the side. Howeve
Mel (Epic Reading)
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-netgalley
You know when you read a book and you know that at least 50% of the symbolism, comparisons, philosophy and psychology went over your head? That's what Mapping the Interior felt like to me. I know there is obviously a lot of importance and density to this novella but ask me to explain it or pull out snippets and I struggle knowing I missed a lot of somethings I can't articulate.

"There are rules, I know. Not knowing them doesn't mean they don't apply to you.

This is a story of a Native American bo
Johann (jobis89)
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
"In death, he had become what he never could in life. And now he was back."

While walking through his house late one night, a fifteen-year old boy thinks he sees his long-dead father stepping through a doorway. What follows is an exploration of this young boy, his family, and Native American culture.

I didn’t love this, nor did I hate it – I guess I’m just quite ambivalent about it. This is a really short novella and quite easy to just race through in one sitting. It did have a couple of unsettlin
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
I'm going to attempt to write this review after *just* finishing this story but just know, it killed me. I'm dead.
So I had a bookstagram post lined up today with some books that are nominated for the Shirley Jackson award 2017.
Mapping the Interior is nominated for the novella award. I was arranging the books for the photo when I decided that I wanted to read it before I posted it.
I'm so glad I did. This is what I like to lovingly call a "gut punch".
SGJ pulls you into this 12 year old boy's head
Michael Hicks
I know this one is getting a lot of love, but it just doesn't do much for me. It's a short read, so I don't feel particularly cheated by the time spent with it, and although I found it pretty dull overall, I feel largely ambivalent about the work as a whole.

The biggest barrier between me and the story was the writing style. The writing was just too choppy for my tastes, and the sentence constructions irked me. How so? Well, a lot of the sentences, it was written like this. "Our house, like I sa
Ashley Daviau
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
While I did enjoy this short story, I must admit that I'm sure that about 75% of the meaning behind it escaped me. But despite not understanding all the nuances of it, I'm still glad that I read it.

It was definitely creepy and gave me chills from head to toe in certain parts. The author is excellent at drawing you in and making you feel the terror that the main character is feeling.

I also really enjoyed the fact that it was based on Native American culture and myth, it's something I've very ra
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is my first experience with Stephen Graham Jones, and I’m really sort of sorry for it. I wish I had started reading his work sooner. Mapping the Interior is a story about a boy who is being haunted by the ghost of his father. It’s a quick story, and the plot really is that straightforward. It can be read in just a couple hours.

The prose is easy to read but also had a really strong sense of voice, which I loved. It held a rhythm and cadence that felt unique to Jones. This is a horror story,
This elegiac but dragging new novella by Stephen Graham Jones features a haunting in the way that I believe it would actually occur. Not with translucent, floating apparitions banging on walls, levitating over you while you sleep, or chasing you down the halls of your house, but a haunting by something much more personal, quiet, and understated the way it is here.

Jones uses weaves together elements of horror, superstition, family conflict, and Native American culture and lore to tell a coming of
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, ghost-stories
Stephen Graham Jones writes stories that connect to the heart of people. I'm not, in any way, similar to the protagonist here, and yet - he expresses something universal.

It's horror, and definitely horrifying, but it's through the lens of that horror that we see the world stripped down to the basic truths that unite us all: you protect your family, and sometimes that means from each other. There are lines that shouldn't be crossed - and everyone has something that will push them over that line.
Book Riot Community
This is a creepy Native American horror novella from one of the most inventive writers working today! A teenage boy wakes in the night to see his father going through a doorway. There’s a problem: his father is dead, having died under mysterious circumstances before his family left the reservation. Still, he follows him through the doorway, only to discover the house is much bigger than he thought. And if he goes the wrong way, he will find things that were better off hidden. Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnn ...more
Melissa Chung
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
There is a blurb on the front cover from Paul Tremblay it says "Emotionally raw, disturbing, creepy, and brilliant. You will not be unmoved." In order to understand my 2.5 rating I have to break down this blurb.

Emotionally raw. Okay, the book is emotional. It's about a twelve year old boy who is convinced that his dead father has come back to life to fix things and be a family again. Junior our main character has a fierce love toward his mother and little brother. His brother Dino, is mentally h
Stephen Graham Jones skillfully combines American Indian lore with the innocence of childhood in this novella about a teenage boy who fears his long-deceased father has made a home for himself beneath their modular home. SGJ teasingly blurs the line between reality and imagination.. and it was exactly that quiet horror of what *might* be that kept me hooked!
Richard  Thomas
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know Stephen is an acquired voice, but if this story doesn't cut you to the core, you might already be dead. Beautiful, haunting, and so very original, this is a story filled with heartache, loss, family, love, and the dead coming back to do things both kind and unspeakable. Loved it.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
3.5 Stars
More literary than traditionally scary, this novella was well written and emotionally complex. This story had some excellent own voices diverse representation with a Native American family at the center of the narrative.
Jessica Woodbury
A haunting novella about family, poverty, and the way they blend into the American Indian experience. When you see the ghost of your dead father, the man it seems you are better off without, is that good or bad?

Meditative and dark, but also sneaky in the narrative in a way that I have come to expect from Jones. Nothing is ever as it first appears, and when he uses a young narrator, he so effectively sinks you into the shaky instability of a child's mind. In some of his books, you move along so
The printed edition of this book has an exceptionally misleading back-cover blurb (which even begins with describing the narrator only as "a fifteen-year-old," instead the many-times stated twelve/thirteen year old he is, which very much threw off my grasp of the pacing) but luckily it's a strong enough story to beat the confusion and warrant a second reading at the very least.
Shiver-making and creeping and shadow-dark.

Also that ending is...
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
NOTE: This review originally appeared on New York Journal of Books:

There’s something profoundly upsetting in the thought of being able to interact with a late family member—upsetting and disturbing. Such is the twisted, black, beating heart at the center of Stephen Graham Jones’ latest tale, Mapping the Interior.

Jones has always had a knack for telling unusual stories that challenge and break through a wide variety of genres; yet there is often a theme of
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time reading Stephen Graham Jones, and I can tell you right now, it won't be the last.

The day I found something, that would mean that my nighttime ramblings, they had purpose. Otherwise, I was just broken, right? Otherwise, I was just a toy waking up in the night, bumping into walls.

This is definitely one complex little novella. Junior is a 12-year-old Native American who is convinced that he sees his dead father one night walking past a doorway in their home.

Never having reall
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Briliant short story that took a decidedly unexpected turn at the end.
Jerry Jose
It might been the cultural differences or my general aversion to stories that suggest eventual ordained endings, I didn't like the book much. Even had to google to see what a tetherball pole was. Still, I must admit enjoying the writing, at least parts of it.

Mapping the interior is branded as a horror story; and with the opening sentence where a twelve year old boy sees his dead father crossing the kitchen, it definitely felt so at start. But, from there on it moved into realms I didn't sign up
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it

"And he was looking across the room like an animal, right into my soul. His eyes shown, not with light but with a kind of wet darkness."

Oh yes, give me more Native American horror. This is horror with layers, not just monsters. What I liked best was the allegory of the poverty cycle: of fathers and sons, promises and lies, of magic and murder. There was so much there and it's just barely over a hundred pages.

I didn't enjoy all of it, dog villains, but it was good. Definitely an author I'
Monica **can't read fast enough**
Mapping the Interior is a chillingly hair raising, yet emotional read. This novella grabbed me from the beginning and kept me locked in until the very end. This was my first time reading a story by Stephen Graham Jones, but I will be grabbing some of his backlist titles soon. I have most definitely been missing out. I won't go into any plot details so as not to give away spoilers. I think that it is best to go into this one knowing as little as possible. The fun of reading stories like this is t ...more
Nthato Morakabi
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was a great read. This pulled me back to my younger days, reading Stephen King for the first time and drawing into the lives and horrors of a family. Of a boy who sees a shadowed ghost of his father. Of a boy with hope. Of a boy who does not understand horror until it pulls him into the murky, tepid waters until it's too late

A wonderfully written novella by a talented man. The writing has a few odds and ends that make it difficult to follow exactly, some things that could have been sai
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so did not expect this to go in the direction it did. Wonderful and sad and creepy as hell. Stephen Graham Jones crushes it again!
Angus McKeogh
Thought it would be chock-full of Native American lore, loads of horror, and general spookiness. It was really weak on all three. More of a short treatise on brotherhood and not scary in the least.
Holly (The Grimdragon)
"My heart pounded in my chest with what I wanted to call fear but what I know now was actually hope."

This was my first Stephen Graham Jones, but it certainly won't be my last. Quite the opposite.. now I want to ram all his books into my skull!

Mapping the Interior is an introspective story dripping in atmosphere. This novella (novelette?) clocks in at just over 100 pages and I had goosebumps throughout the majority of them. Not because it is that frightening.. but because it touched me in a way I
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Stephen Graham Jones may be writing the most thoughtful fiction available in any genre. While he has a reputation mainly as a horror writer, this novella and the superb Mongrels, are socio-psychological mirrors into parts of our American culture we tend to ignore. Mapping the Interior may specifically be touching these themes on a more personal level as it is set in the Native American culture with a family that can be called marginally on the edges of the mainstream socially and economically. B ...more
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Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six collections. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carried are all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It's a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He's married with a couple kids, and probably one ...more

Articles featuring this book

For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
156 likes · 57 comments
“I'm all right," I told her. This is a lie, when you're twelve. And all the other years, too.” 5 likes
“You never tell your mom anything that might worry her. Moms have enough to worry about already.” 1 likes
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