You Who Enter Here by Erika T. Wurth
A beautifully rendered, brutally realistic Native American gang novel.
Matthew has grown up in hell. His father is gone, and his mother drinks and hooks up with men who abuse Matthew and his sister. He finally decides to hit the streets of Farmington to get away and to drink himself to death—in his mind, his destiny. He meets Chris, who saves him, takes him home, cleans him up, gets him sober, and initiates Matthew into one of Albuquerque’s Native American gangs, the 505s. The 505s have been around for generations. They now sell heroin, and it’s their subservience to the Mexican gangs that has allowed them to survive. However, Chris decides that his little Native American gang deserves to be as big as the Mexican gangs in Albuquerque, bringing in new business from deep inside Indigenous communities in Mexico. Then, Matthew falls in love with Chris’s girlfriend. Matthew’s story is one of terrible darkness, but also, unexpected beauty and tenderness.
Erika T. Wurth is Professor of Creative Writing at Western Illinois University. She is the author of one previous novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend; two collections of poetry, Indian Trains and A Thousand Horses Out to Sea; and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver.