Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of short stories set in indigenous communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories- the title comes from the local nickname for the dancehall in Fort Smith. There are nine short stories in this slim (155 pages) volume, and they cover a broad genre range- from science fiction and horror stories to romance and family drama. Because of this range, your mileage out of each story might vary- my favourite were the romance and family dramas but I’m not sad about a glimpse into some indigenous horror villains like the Wheetago- as with Jordan Peele’s work, the horror genre is refreshed with more diverse voices.
Van Camp writes well and the worlds and characters he creates feel real and compelling. There are shamans, crooked band chiefs, wayward sons, lackluster step fathers, potential girlfriends, gossiping grandmas- all with shades of people you might already know, even if you don’t come from Fort Smith, NWT.
I paid cold hard cash for this one at my local independent bookstore- seemed like the kind of place my money should be going. #Cbr12bingo #money