Jim Potter displays ethnographic skills in Taking Back the Bullet: Trajectories of Self-Discovery, creating vivid scenes and fascinating characters. The Greeks had a word for subcultures and people’s behavior: ‘ethos,’ or ‘ways of being.’ In colorful, sometimes marvelous detail, this novel captures various people and settings . . . the ethos of rural Kansas: a jail, art fair, powwow, rehab center, courtroom, albinos, and even someone in the throes of postpartum depression. So detailed are the descriptions that they must be drawn from the author’s personal experience. Besides the artfully created characters such as the struggling jailer and husband Tom Jennings, local artist Jesse Thomas, and Native American Joe Morningcloud, there is a tight story line that grabs your attention and won’t let go. Human tensions, love, conflict, joys and sorrows are all there. Magically, all the many pieces come together in a final crescendo, giving hope that even when we find ourselves in big trouble we can survive. This is a novel I highly recommend!
Larry Kruckman, anthropologist