Alexie published this book at the young age of 26. He offers insight into being an Indian, and even pokes fun at himself and his culture; something we Indians do to make light of our often weary situation. Most poigniantly, the story Ghosts of Salmon is the heart of this book. Read this story and consider it above and beyond all "green" literature and Al Gore stories we hear today. Alexie, prior to the trend, had a strong understanding of what was going on prior to the term "global warming." Seeing the movie Smoke Signals does not do this book justice.
I truely was going to save this book, then decided a keeper shelf is silly for me as i have enjoyed it so much--and what is a good book if you can't share it. I loved this book. It is so beautifully written-- it will bring tears to your eyes. First off the title is so right on. It is called fiction, but based on truth with a bit added here and there. This is a collection of short stories that are funny, heart wrenching and real. This author is just mesmerizing with words. He tells stories of life on the reservation and his family and friends. There is alot of passion that comes thru on each page. I felt very sorry in many stories that i had food when they did not and very happy that they had family when the chips were down. This was an awsome read.
The movie "Smoke Signals" is actually based on several of the stories in this book. But having seen the movie before I read the book, I found myself preferring the movie (just slightly). There was more cohesiveness in the narrative of the film. But Sherman Alexie is a writer of no small skill, and his works are definitely worth reading whether you are in Native American studies, American studies, or just a fan of the short story. I read it based on the recommendation of a Native Lit professor.
A grim and sometimes humerous look at life on an Indian reservation. I recently moved to a reservation and this book rung so true. The characters from this book are also in his other book Reservation Blues, but each can stand independently. I enjoyed this book very much, and plan to read more by this author.
First Line: Although it was winter, the nearest ocean four hundred miles away, and the Tribal Weatherman asleep because of boredom, a hurricane dropped from the sky in 1976 and fell so hard on the Spokane Indian Reservation that it knocked Victor from bed and his latest nightmare.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a collection of short stories written by one of my favorite authors, Sherman Alexie. Alexie's writing can be very powerful and beautiful, and it has the added bonus of taking us out of our comfort zones and letting us see "how the other half lives" in the United States. Alexie is a Spokane Indian, and his writing has been formed in part by growing up on the reservation.
Growing up in central Illinois, I had no clue about reservations, other than knowing that the governmental policy always seemed to be one of placing reservations on worthless pieces of land. It wasn't until I moved to Arizona and could drive to places like Chinle or Page that I realized that there are indeed countries within the United States. The Navajo Nation is a nation. It has its own police force, its own language, and-- unlike the rest of Arizona-- observes Daylight Savings Time. The trials many Navajo face just to have enough water for themselves and their livestock on a daily basis are trials that you and I would never put up with. We deserve better. (Hopefully I didn't lace that last bit with too much sarcasm.)
We need writers like Alexie. Not only does he possess story-telling magic, he reminds us that we need to take off our rose-colored glasses from time to time and take a much closer look at America. There's work to be done. This collection of short stories contains the seeds of future films and books. It spans several years in his development as a writer, since some were written when he was nineteen:
"So why am I telling you that these stories are true? First of all, they're not really true. They are the vision of one individual looking at the lives of his family and his entire tribe, so these stories are necessarily biased, incomplete, exaggerated, deluded, and often just plain wrong. But in trying to make them true and real, I am writing what might be called reservation realism."
I would imagine that, if all writers were completely honest with us, they'd have to say that what they write is often biased, incomplete, exaggerated, deluded, and just plain wrong. Sometimes you need to do some (or all) of those things to get your point across. Although these stories aren't as strong as his novels Indian Killer or Flight (both of which blew me away), I'm glad I read these stories. They are good, and they show the evolution of a very gifted writer.
To read anything by Alexie is to know the pain and sense of dislocation of native Americans. Additionally, his prose illuminates much of what is wrong in American society, because as Alexie says, to know it, turn it around. Can you picture a white male in similar situations? If so how would that be different than a person of color or a woman? Then you know the truth.
Sherman Alexie is one of those rare writers that can speak of another culture in such a way that outsiders can empathize and understand and feel a part of the storytelling. He is a true talent and this book is just one of many examples of how gifted he is.
If you are looking for a book that will run the emotional gamut (usually with one paragraph) then make it a point to read this book. There is not a bad story in this book.
I was hoping to write a review that would eventually get around to Mr. Alexie and he would be so inspired that he would contact me and we could hang out. But I'm afraid that all I can still say is "Wow!" This book left me emotionally tired, but definitely with a satisfied feeling. I'm going to get some emotional rest now.
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