Never Whistle at Night, an original anthology of 26 dark stories by Indigenous authors dares to ask the question: “Are you ready to be unsettled?”
The collection is a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ survival and imagination in all the things an ill-advised whistle might summon. Many Indigenous people believe that one should never whistle at night. This belief takes many forms, but what all these legends hold in common is the certainty that whistling at night can cause evil spirits to appear — and even follow you home.
Never Whistle at Night was edited by Shane Hawk and Theodore C. Van Alst Junior. Authors include Cherie Dimaline, Darcie Little Badger, Nick Medina, Waubgeshig Rice, and Rebecca Roanhorse. Introduced and contextualized by Stephen Graham Jones. Genres include sci-fi, fantasy, horror and crime.
“Can you draw power from the spirit of a story? If the 26 tales in the essential Never Whistle at Night anthology are any indication, the answer is an emphatic yes,” said Clay McLeod Chapman, author of Ghost Eaters, in an online review. “The title itself provides its own warning, but I’ll go one step further: never read this collection of spine-chilling stories alone at night. You just might not make it to morning.”
Labelled a bold, clever and sublimely sinister collection on thriftbooks.com, these wholly original and shiver-inducing tales introduce readers to ghosts, curses, hauntings, monstrous creatures, complex family legacies, desperate deeds, and chilling acts of revenge.
The belief of not whistling at night without experiencing sinister consequences takes many forms: for instance, Hawaiians believe it summons the Hukai’po, the spirits of ancient warriors, and Mexicans say it calls Lechuza, a witch that can transform into an owl. In northern Manitoba, it is said that if misbehaving children whistle at the Northern Lights, aka the aurora borealis, they will be taken up inside the spectacle and become one with them.
Hawk (Cheyenne and Arapaho) is an emerging dark fiction writer. His debut was Anoka: A Collection of Indigenous Horror, which was followed by a splatterpunk Western novella, Untamable Creatures, and a story within the Indigenous comic anthology, A Howl: A Comics Collection of Wolves, Werewolves, and Rougarou.
Van Alst Junior (Lakota and Anishinaabe) is the author of the novel Sacred Smokes, winner of the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing, and Sacred City. His Pushcart-nominated fiction has been published in Southwest Review, Unnerving Magazine, Red Earth Review, The Journal of Working-Class Studies, Massachusetts Review, The Raven Chronicles, and Yellow Medicine Review, among others. He is a professor and chair of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University.
These legends hold in common the certainty that whistling at night can cause evil spirits to appear and follow you home, or worse. Published by Penguin Random House/Vintage Books in 2023, the anthology sits at just over 400 pages, is available in paperback and can be ordered or back ordered on thriftbooks.com, amazon.ca and is available on Kindle devices.