Saturday, May 7, 2011

BOOK: The Night Wanderer by Drew Hayden Taylor

The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel by Drew Hayden Taylor, 215 pages

Gothic Reading Challenge; Once Upon a Time; 4th CBC

I read Taylor's Motorcycles and Sweetgrass last year (and loved it), and this book, The Night Wanderer, feels like the practice run for Motorcycles and Sweetgrass. The Night Wanderer is classified as young adult, and tells the story of Tiffany Hunter, a native girl in Otter Lake who is suffering much teenage angst. (Otter Lake is the same location as M&S) Her mother has run off, leaving her with her bitter father and her charming grandmother. A mysterious stranger from Europe arrives and boards at their house. (A stranger comes to Otter Lake and shakes up the town in M&S)

In both books, the stranger introduces a supernatural/mythological aspect to the story. The Night Wanderer isn't as consistently funny as M&S, but the hints are there that Taylor has a comedic novel in him. Taylor manages to tell native stories that are accessible to non-natives, without being depressing, while conveying the vast history and traditions, and illustrating the conflicts that exist. I felt like I got a little history in my entertaining story, and combining native mythology with vampires was a nice touch. The teenage stuff was okay, showing the typical "woe is me" teenage angst when families and boyfriends aren't working out. Overall, good read, especially for readers who like vampires in small doses, and I'll be waiting for another book by Taylor.