Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Town Sleeps” as Want to Read:
This Town Sleeps
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Town Sleeps

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  34 reviews
On an Ojibwe reservation called Languille Lake, within the small town of Geshig at the hub of the rez, two men enter into a secret romance. Marion Lafournier, a midtwenties gay Ojibwe man, begins a relationship with his former classmate Shannon, a heavily closeted white man obsessed with his image as a northern Minnesotan. While Marion is far more open about his sexuality, ...more
Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Counterpoint
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Town Sleeps, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about This Town Sleeps

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  100 ratings  ·  34 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of This Town Sleeps
Paris (parisperusing)
Call me picky, but gay people of color deserve better than a shameful struggle love story.

Dennis E. Staples This Town Sleeps tells the story of an openly gay Ojibwe man in his mid-twenties named Marion who finds himself back in his native rez town of Geshig where he begins a secret, sexual relationship with one of his former classmates, a closeted white man named Shannon. Although Geshig doesnt give off the obvious threat of homophobia, Marion and Shannon understand the unspoken confidentiality
Kasa Cotugno
Books by native American authors about their interconnected experience in today's world are always revelatory, and this one maybe more than most. Dennis Staples recounts the story of Marion Lafournier, who is out and at ease in his skin but searching for love on the internet. When an old still closeted classmate appears for a date, old rumors and family histories come to light. Set on and near an Obijwe reservation in Minnesota, tribal traditions clash with modern day challenges, and Marion ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Counterpoint Press for reaching out and sending me a copy of this book, which has been one of my most anticipated 2020 debut novels.

This Town Sleeps is a book I gratefully went into having only skimmed the blurb, which alludes to the awakened spirit of a dead dog, the untangling of a long past murder, and a young gay Ojibwe man named Marion Lafournier as the throughline. Theres a lot going on in this slim novel, and I was immediately entranced by the writing and the exciting
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I so, so enjoyed this beautifully written, unique little novel about life on the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota. Its a mystery, a history, and a little bit of a love story, wrapped into one quiet, pensive book. The main character, Marion Lafournier, is a young gay Ojibwe man, not quite in touch with his Indian roots, but still wanting to live nearby the rez. Marion goes on a little journey of self-discovering, learning about his towns past, his tribe, his culture, in small, meaningful ways. The ...more
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
3.5? Maybe? I don't know how I feel right now ask me in like four days
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, poc-authored
Dennis Staples debut novel about sexuality, spirituality, and community in a Native American community in Minnesota is overflowing with ethereal self-reflection and thoughtfulness.

Marion, a young, gay Obijwe man, has recently returned to the reservation he grew up on. Dealing with the sadness of aging and being alone while gay, he struggles to find peace surrounded by closeted men, Native beliefs, and a new dog. While trying to understand why a closeted man won't love him the way he deserves,
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I found it a little too disjointed for an audiobook, was often confused at what, when, who and where if I lost one sentence...
"The world was always leaving Indians in the dust." (145)

Marion is a gay Ojibwe man who lives on the Languille Lake reservation near the town of Geshig where he grew up. He starts hooking up with a former high school football star, a white man named Shannon, who is closeted. The ghost of a dog under a playground merry-go-round appears, stirring up memories of the murder of Kayden Kelliher and the child and life he left behind. The story shifts perspectives through the eyes of multiple
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Staples unravels a haunting mystery through multiple narratives in a way that aligns seamlessly together. Snapshots from several generations of Ojibwe folks are woven into the details of the murder of high school basketball star, Kayden Kelliher-- twelve years later, it seems his ghost still lingers, particularly revolving around 27 year old Marion. Meanwhile, Marion begins falling for an old acquaintance from high school, a white man deep in the closet. This Town Sleeps is may look fairly short ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy for review from Counterpoint Press.

This debut novel is a lot of things all at once in a slim 226 pages. There's love, there's murder, there's a mystery, and spirits. This Town Sleeps traces the intergenerational lives of multiple Ojibwe families in the town of Geshig on the Languille Lake reservation. It's primary narrator, Marion Lafournier, isn't what we typically refer to as "tradish." He doesn't believe in Ojibwe spiritual practices, doesn't believe in spirits or
I thought this was a beautiful novel. When I found out it was a debut, I was even more impressed.

Dennis E. Staples is an Ojibwe author and I already know that I look forward to a continuing voice from him. There is a lovely blend of traditional and contemporary voices in this book.

The main character, Marion is a young, gay Ojibwe man. It's clear from the beginning of the novel that he is a bit lost about where he belongs. Marion left the reservation when he was young, then returned to live in a
Lilly Schmaltz
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Counterpoint Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This Town Sleeps is the debut novel from Dennis E. Staples and follows an openly gay Ojibwe man, Marion, who finds himself back on his reservation. He begins a secret relationship with an old classmate and faces some realities of being openly gay in a small town. While wondering his town, he awakens a spirit dog that leads him to the grave of a murdered Ojibwe boy. With this spirit following him,
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

There is some good stuff here. The relationship between the protagonist and his closeted counterpart was fairly well-portrayed. I liked the setting and the premise had a lot of potential. Unfortunately the writing fell short. The story was very disjointed and confusing. Often I would find myself going back over paragraphs to see if Id missed something, but nope. It was just the abrupt segues
Jennifer M.
I sort of read This Town Sleeps with Brokeback Mountain in mind. I could see some similarities. But while BM shattered my heart, TTS was way more gentle and, but might not stay in my heart as long. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book. I liked the beginning immediately. How these two men, one gay, one claiming he's straight, found each other. It seemed very organic and believable. I loved all the characters, even as flawed as some were. There's even a dog that I instantly wanted as my own. I ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish the book had focused more on the queer aspects than on the meandering family histories, which over the course of the book got pretty challenging to remember and understand. A family tree would have helped.

That said, books with characters who have intersectional identities are hard to find and the representation seemed good to me. I never really thought about what it might be like to have a closeted partner before. This book really made me think about that. I don't think I could handle it.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I guess I'm not much one for contemporary like this. I just didn't find that I connected with any of the characters. It was hard trying to figure out whose perspective I was reading from during each chapter, or even in the middle of chapters. I would get part way through a chapter before a name was said and then I would have to reread from the start so I would understand better.
I felt there were too many perspectives that we read from, for me it would have been better if it only followed a few
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really was looking forward to this one but it feel quite short for me, as its narrative seemed very much the same as many of the books Ive read lately that simply were written with a little more fervor. I look forward to the next thing Staples writes, and I hope he explores more of the mythology of the Native American side of this story as that is what kept me interested. ...more
Alex Luceli Jiménez
this town sleeps, this book slaps™ (actual review ~coming very soon~ via dc but THANK YOU COUNTERPOINT for being the literal best and giving me both an ARC and the finished copy. local berkeley publishing house consistently publishing astounding fiction we truly love to see it!!) ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books where you, the reader, have to sit back and follow the characters through the story - following their memories, dreams and thoughts - because this important story, its about figuring out who you are so you can figure out where to go. ...more
Deb M.
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
The book was just not my cup of tea.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, poc-author, 2020
Well damn this was bleak. Staples conveys a lot in so little space, but I wish some areas had been teased out more; that would have balanced all the POVs a bit better.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish - not what I expected - not enough of the mystery.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is an enjoyable read, though I found it a bit tricky at times to follow the multiple characters and occasional time shifts. I loved the thread of mysticism and Indian lore that was woven throughout the book. I thought the author did a commendable job capturing the isolation of small towns as well as the challenge of having a meaningful life as a young gay Indian man. I know so little of this part of the country and its culture that I was intrigued by all aspects of the area. This is an ...more
Emily Flagstad
Mar 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was just not my kind of book! Slow, slow, slow and disjointed. Too quiet, simple, and SLOW.
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was a bit hard to keep track of all the characters. My favorite was the narrative of the main character. This honest story is memorable and haunting.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
There's kind of a lot wrong with This Town Sleeps. It's extremely unfocused, the occasional flashbacks are unnecessary and confusing, and the stream of consciousness sections make the character of Shannon sound psychotic. Also, I'm not a reader who needs a pat, happy ending, but the ending here is all frustration, no pay-off.

On the other hand, This Town Sleeps is genuinely interesting, and what I see as its failures are failures to meet its ambitious goals.

Worth a look.
This review is based on an ARC.

While I generally liked the story and characters, and I appreciated how realistic it is, there were a few things that kept this book from a higher rating for me. The pacing is okay, but the viewpoints jumped around in a way that confused me at first. I eventually got used to it, but never comfortable really. There were a few times the text was, I assume, purposefully not aligned but I didn't really understand why. Page 132 was the one I noticed most. I couldn't
Sage Jacobs
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples. It is many stories within stories, from being gay and Native American in a small town, lonely and falling in love with men who can't admit they are gay to living in a suck city he can't escape even while moving out of it, to the generational trauma of colonialism and the alcoholism that so often comes with that, to ghost dogs and dead boys who come back, to dead dogs under merry go rounds, to murder and the many histories of mothers, this book was ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like it. I received an ARC from the publisher. I see what its trying to do and be but it just didnt hit that gritty but believable place. I like the setting and the premise is intriguing but I could get into the writing. Too many perspectives, cliche dialogue, shallow internal dialogue, weird unearned familiarity between some characters that kept making me feel like I missed a page. Sorry maybe next time. ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, edelweissplus
Dennis E. Staples' This Town Sleeps is a wonderful tapestry to a book with many threads contributing to a rich narrative with multiple moods and perspectives. Marion, the central character, lives near an Ojibwe reservation, which he lived on when he was younger. He's a gay man trying to meet others like him, but having little luck in the small, everyone-knows-everyone area he calls home. One of the novel's main narrative threads is the story of his on-again, off-again relationship with a beyond ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Real Life
  • A Beautiful Crime
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son
  • Weather
  • Homie
  • Death in Her Hands
  • The Night Watchman
  • Creatures
  • Cleanness
  • Cog
  • Godshot
  • American Spy
  • Swimming in the Dark
  • American Dirt
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • Under the Rainbow
  • The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia
See similar books…

Related Articles

The hotly anticipated sequel to 'Carry On' is finally here.
341 likes · 46 comments
“We're boys. That's what we're supposed to do.” 1 likes
More quotes…