AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

Publication Date: July 5, 2022
Format: Audio
Genre:  Native American Lit
Narrators: Darrell Dennis

Publisher: Recorded Books 
7 hours 6 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


How do the living come back to life? 

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy. 

In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty—with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight—breathes life into tales of family and community bonds as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson, and thinks he is her dead brother come back to life; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs. 

In a collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of a Native community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction.


Strong narration for these 12 coming of age stories set on the Penobscot reservation.  They revolve around addiction, methadone, mental illness, alcohol, and general poverty.  We start to see first hand what breaking the bond the Natives had with the land and their religion had on them. Being forced to live on reservations, with no work, no stores and very little to bring them back from desperation and despair.  

This is a story of sadness, of tragedy and of truth.  It is also one of overcoming, of finding something that keeps you going. When you don't think your story is worth a whole book you start to write stories and then the stories find their way together to piece together a life and a book.  Well done.  Excellent writing and although painful it is well worth the read. 

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