Set on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, This Town Sleeps is the story of Marion Lafournier, a gay Ojibwe man, and his search for meaning in a town he cannot seem to leave. When he begins a romance with a closeted former high school classmate Shannon, Marion finds himself struggling to connect with the volcanic and unstable man.
One night, while roaming the dark streets of Geshig, Marion unknowingly brings to life a dog from underneath the elementary school playground. The mysterious revenant leads him to the grave of Kayden Kelliher, an Ojibwe basketball star who was murdered at the young age of seventeen, and whose presence still lingers in the memories of the townsfolk.
While investigating the fallen hero's death, Marion discovers family connections and an old Ojibwe legend that may be the secret to unraveling the mystery he has found himself in.
"Elegant and gritty, angry and funny. Staples's work is emotional without being sentimental. Dennis unmakes something in us, then remakes it, a quilt of characters that embody this town, this place, which sleeps but doesn't dream, or it is all a dream we want to wake up from with its characters." --Tommy Orange, author of There, There
"In this novel we travel to familiar literary terrain: a community-in this case, an Indigenous reservation in northern Minnesota-that is still suffering from the ravages of colonialism and its aftermath. Yet Staples approaches this grand injustice with a fresh intimacy, informing us of the ways it continues to singe people's lives, and how the search for truth-in one's identity, hopes, love-defines them." -- The New York Times Book Review
"A suspenseful ride . . . Through a meticulous weaving of backstories and present-day scenes, Marion and other characters who grew up in Geshig must come to terms with what it means to both resist and appreciate the place that roots them." --Shalini Rana, The Arkansas International
"With gentle wit, frank sensuality, and a keen eye for small town and reservation life, Dennis E. Staples debuts a tender, suspenseful, irresistible first novel!" --Louise Erdrich
Paperback / 224 pages