These Bones

Kayla Chenault. Lanternfish, $17 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-941360-55-2
Chenault’s mesmerizing debut follows the Lyons family starting in 1909 through a series of vignettes that create a mosaic portrait of the Bramble Patch, the Black section of fictional Midwestern city Napoleonville, which was “built on the bones of its dead.” The tale is framed by a request for information from the Napoleonville Historical society to Wanhope Lyons, who remembers the city’s racist, segregated history all too well and knows that even though his home has crumbled and his people have dispersed, no one who lived there will ever truly leave the Bramble Patch. The ensuing story is constructed of first-person accounts, news clippings, academic writing, and interviews, building a polyphonic narrative of a deteriorating community—and the demonic entity called the Barghest who feeds off them. Chenault’s short but powerful gothic work blends the best elements of folklore, horror, the blues, and archival history in resonant and lyrical prose. Fans of alternate histories, suspenseful literary fiction, and Black speculative fiction will be hooked on piecing together this intricate, entrancing tale.(Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/01/2021
Release date: 09/14/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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