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Mongrels
By Stephen Graham Jones

Discussed February 2019

Buy Mongrels from Amazon.com

Characters

  • Narrator
  • Aunt Libby
  • Uncle Darren
  • Grandpa
  • Grace-Ellen

Questions

  1. This is a very different werewolf story. If you’re “into” werewolf stories, what’s your opinion of Jones’s “revisionist” take on werewolf lore, society, history, and biology?
  2. What’s your opinion about “sheep” (werewolves in hiding; “tamed” werewolves; “our traditional enemy, our intended prey”)?
  3. Jones cites the vampire film Near Dark (1987) as an influence: “Here, finally, was a monster I could believe in. A monster like me and mine.” If you’re familiar with Near Dark, do you see any connection?
  4. Were you expecting a story about “skin-walkers”? Are you disappointed that you didn’t get it? Do you consider this story an example of “reverse cultural appropriation”?
  5. Does Jones’s depiction of the itinerant “non-rez” Native American lifestyle seem realistic to you? Has this story affected your understanding or opinion of this lifestyle?
  6. Every now and then, the story drops the “first-person narrative” and changes to “third-person narrative”. Each of these chapters refers to the first-person narrator in a different way: “the vampire”, “the reporter”, “the criminal”, “the biologist”, “the mechanic”, “the hitchhiker”, “the prisoner”, “the villager”, “the nephew”. How did this affect your experience with the novel? What’s going on here?
  7. What’s your opinion about the storyline involving Darren, Grace-Ellen, and NMV Exterminators?
  8. “[W]erewolves aren’t big on writing things down. On leaving breadcrumbs.” So, why does the narrator seem to be leaving a written record?
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