Anoka by Shane Hawk

Shane Hawk’s Anoka is a short but potent collection of short stories that range in length from flash fiction like “Soilborne” and “Orange” to longer pieces like “Wounded.” Touching on a range of topics from the alcoholism endemic within reservation communities–as those familiar with indigenous culture will already be aware of–to the epidemic of missing girls and women from tribal communities…and mingling those real-life concerns with supernatural and sometimes downright surreal narrative elements.
This fictionalized version of Anoka, MN would make for a truly horrifying place to live, the implication being that horror lurks not far beneath the surface of everything there.
“Wounded” and “Imitate” are perhaps my two favorite stories in this collection, and there are some similarities between the two. The stories in question focus on protagonists who are trying to make amends for the choices they’ve made earlier in their lives only to have terrifying circumstances arise. There’s a sort of morality play involved, reminding you–as the reader– that no amount of trying to make your life better will necessarily relieve you from the guilt of your past or the influences of your earlier decisions and mistakes. It’s a harsh reality, but it is reality just the same.
I’m looking forward to seeing more from Shane Hawk down the line.

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