LARB: En la Brega: An Interview with Kristen Millares Young

IN APRIL 2020, Red Hen Press published Kristen Millares Young’s debut novel, Subduction. Described by the novelist Shawn Wong as “a lyrical forest of storytelling rooted in indigenous voices,” Young’s book centers upon the field work of Latina anthropologist Claudia Ranks in Neah Bay, a Native American whaling village on the westernmost edge of the contiguous United States. Struggling through her own damage, Claudia tries to lose herself in her research but instead starts a relationship with her informant’s son, who returns home to the Makah Indian Reservation to uncover answers about his father’s murder. Subduction portrays the complex experience of racial grief that results from being severed from our cultural identities. It is messy to find human connection as a cultural outsider marred by the complexities of betrayal. With Subduction, veteran investigative journalist Young takes on the ethics of storytelling across racial identities.