Twenty-two powerful stories which balance unbearable honesty about the difficulties of life in an American Indian reservation with irrepressible passion, warmth and wit.
Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, is the author of several books of poetry, including I Would Steal Horses, Old Shirts & New Skins, First Indian on the Moon and The Summer of Black Widows, and a volume of poetry and prose called The Business of Fancydancing.
This work chronicles modern life on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Victor, through whose eyes we view the community, is strongly aware of Native American traditions but wonders whether his ancestors view today's Indians--mired in alcohol, violence, and an almost palpable sense of despair--with sympathy or disgust. In spite of the bleakness of reservation life, the text brims with humor and passion as it juxtaposes ancient customs with such contemporary artifacts as electric guitars and diet Pepsi. The author of two previous poetry collections, Alexie writes with grit and lyricism that perfectly capture the absurdity of a proud, dignified people living in the squalor, struggling to survive in a society they disdain. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/93.-- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Known primarily as a poet, Alexie ( Old Shirts and New Skins ), a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, here offers 22 extremely fine short stories, all set on or around the Spokane reservation in Washington state. Characters flow from one tale to the next; many involve Victor, who grows from a small child watching relatives fight during a New Year's Eve party (``Every Little Hurricane'') to a dissolute man sitting on his broken-down porch with a friend, watching life pass him by (``The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Anymore''). The author depicts with fierce determination all the elements of modern Native American life, from basketball and alcoholism to powwows and the unexplained deaths of insignificant people. Humor and tragedy exist side by side, and stories often jump back and forth in time and space, recounting two narratives that ultimately prove to be skeins of the same tale. Alexie writes with simplicity and forthrightness, allowing the power in his stories to creep up slowly on the reader. He captures the reservation's strong sense of community and attitude of hope tinged with realism as its inhabitants determine to persevere despite the odds. In ``Imagining the Reservation'' (a title that evokes John Lennon's song ``Imagine'') he writes, ``Survival = Anger Imagination. Imagination is the only weapon on the reservation''--a weapon this author wields with potent authority. First serial to Esquire. (Sept.)
"So wide-ranging, dexterous and consistently capable of raising
your neck hair that it enters at once into our ideas of who we are
and who we might be" * New York Times Book Review *
"I laughed and laughed and couldn't stop reading... Sherman Alexie is simply one of the best new writers we have" -- Leslie Marmon Silko
"Poetic and unremittingly honest . . . The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is for the American Indian what Richard Wright's Native Son was for the black American in 1940." * The Chicago Tribune *