Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota, a small city just outside of the Twin Cities dubbed “The Halloween Capital of the World” since 1937. Here before you lie several tales involving bone collectors, pagan witches, werewolves, skeletal bison, and cloned children. It is up to you to decipher between fact and fiction as the author has woven historical facts into his narratives. With his debut horror collection, Cheyenne and Arapaho author Shane Hawk explores themes of family, grief, loneliness, and identity through the lens of indigenous life.
“Please find another hobby. This is too horrible for words. How can you imagine someone enjoying this?”
—My skeptical, yet supportive grandma
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Praise for ANOKA
The stories in Anoka are scary and funny and gruesome and fantastic but feel true. The short collection is filled with big ideas. Its stories make you think, make you not want to think about what you just read. The writing is sharp throughout. Pay attention to Cheyenne Arapaho author Shane Hawk, he’s going to write great, horrible things.
While I don’t read much horror, the vibrancy of these stories immediately impressed me. The voice in these six stories is urgent, insistent, and unrelenting, and I couldn’t put the book down until I’d finished each one.
—David Heska Wanbli Weiden
The voice here is quiet, breathy, big-brass-ballsy, befogged, benighted, believable. The stories stick and poke like an infected tattoo you got done in your friend’s basement. They look cool and terrible, hurt like hell and are remembered with little shudders and slit-eyed grins. Get this book. Stick it in your pocket, carry it around, and read it when you need a jolt. It’ll get you where you need to be.
—Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Anoka is a place of many meanings, and here many meetings, as horrors creep from unexpected shadows. While each appears in this real place, they carry from the people through whose eyes we see this world. The stories coil around us, feeding unease. Personal standouts were “Imitate,” a tale that sinks into doppelgängers, identity, and uncertainty, and “Transfigured.”
Selected Quotes From ANOKA
Offer yourself, your life, your time, to another person for nine years and they laugh in your face. She spit on the grave of their marriage. A piece of his heart still lies in that cut of earth, that blood-soaked soil.
Never prayed to a god before. Even in those lodges as a kid, I never connected to those dead spirits. I pretended to, though, to respect my elders.
I hated the Boy Scouts and their Order of the Arrow. Wasn’t enough to steal our land, but the WASPs also tried to imitate our ceremonies, our regalia, and call it their own.
He always found it funny he chewed a product named Red Man that used an Indian for the logo. He supposed it didn’t matter. Any representation of us gave us significance, gave us weight. Made us not just some forgotten ghosts of American history.
Chaska never understood why his grandfather ditched polytheism, but chalked it up to his upbringing. Those government-run boarding schools fractured his identity. Should have called them ‘breaking schools.’
They weren’t my tribe, but I believed that legend. Witches and werewolves were real. Why not Windegos? And isn’t that what happened to the Donner Party out in California? Being so desperate for meat, for food. Could relate to that. Pitied any person with nothing to fall back on, enough to eat someone’s heart out.