Book Reviews

Book Review: Black Kettle by Jason LeClerc

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This book was reviewed via Netgalley

 

Black Kettle, by Jason LeClerc seems less to me a series of novellas, as advertised, and more a series of philosophical discourse that discuss various aspects of humanity, threaded with short stories that are independent of one another, yet are linked in the same time-line. Events that occur to one person in one story will occur to a different set of people, far from the first, or events that happen in a story will be referenced in another story further in the future. Some connections are quite obvious, others less so, and I enjoyed finding the links. The short stories, like the discourse, are commentaries on humanity. I found them all fascinating, with several resonating deeply. This is truly a book to reread many times in order to get the full effect.

 

‘Staring into the Sun’ looks at sight and blindness, and how society’s collectiveness renders us blind in many ways. It meanders through how the digital age is changing how we see things, and how the invention of written language already has.

 

‘Black Kettle’ expresses nicely how we are all beautiful in our seemingly flawed natures… and how we are all alike. This really hit home to the physical anthropologist in me. One thing that my forensics training taught me is that underneath the thin veneer of skin, we are all alike, yet so very different in nature as victim and predator.

 

‘Sand Creek’ is the first of the short stories, about a boy who has an accident, and gains an awareness of a land whose time is long past. A part of him always dwells with ghosts, mainly of Native Americans slaughtered at Sand Creek. He is there, along the banks of the creek when a disaster of global proportions happens. This disaster shows up again and again, happening to different people, in different places.

 

These are but the first few of the many stories within. These stories are snippets, offerings if you will, of personal and impersonal destruction. Later stories illustrate, without being aggressive with it, that being different is perfectly fine. If you’re gay, that’s fine, if you’re straight, that’s fine, if you’re bi, that’s fine. However, it doesn’t shy away from showing how the close-minded and judgemental react/overreact to race and sexual orientation. These stories are, additionally, a nice commentary on how our individual perceptions shape how we see events, as we see certain events from the point of view of all the major players, and see how the accounts vary. Sometimes the differences are small, but sometimes they are wildly different.

 

???? recommended if you enjoy philosophical books that will make you think.

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