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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in…

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (original 1993; edition 2005)

by Sherman Alexie

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Title:The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Authors:Sherman Alexie
Info:Grove Press (2005), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (1993)


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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven contains a collection of short stories that are interconnected, all taking place on the same reservation and with various characters reappearing in multiple stories; in fact, about the first half of the book all centers around the character of Victor, although these stories alternate between first and third person points of view.

The book is sharply funny at times, but this humor is offset by the largely bleak world portrayed and peopled with pessimistic outlooks. While I found Alexie's writing beautiful, the subject matter was so depressing and almost unremittingly without hope that I'd find it difficult to wholeheartedly recommend this book. To say I "enjoyed" it would be the wrong word choice, but I am glad that I read this book. Again, Alexie's writing style is noteworthy, so that made for an overall good reading experience. But the stories touched upon so many tragedies and problems that the few hints of hope dropped on rare occasions were not enough to bolster any optimism. This is definitely not a good read if you are looking for something light and fuzzy, but the beautiful writing may win you over if you're willing to dive into some deeper themes about isolation, poverty and its negative effects, tradition versus the future, racism, and so forth. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Nov 7, 2015 |
Many of the stories are beautiful and a few hauntingly so. Unfortunately, as with all short story collections, some of the stories aren't all that good. Still, the number of good ones is larger than those that aren't, and there are a few that are more than just good. Recommended. ( )
  JWarren42 | Oct 10, 2013 |
How do you survive in a place where everyone you know, and have ever known are alcoholics and drug abusers, and you are expected to turn out no different? The book is a series of short stories following the lives of Native Americans living on the Spokane Reservation. It is especially focused on young residents struggling with their identities as Native Americans and with the addictions and alcoholism common in Spokane. Though the stories follow different characters with and have different plotlines, there are common threads through the stories that string them together in and almost continuous description of the lives of the Spokane natives. In most stories the ideas of following culture and tradition are present, along with struggles with substance abuse and most commonly, their identity as Native Americans. Another important part of the book is the idea that the past is just as much a part of who you are as where and how you are raised is. In the short story “A Drug Called Tradition” Victor states that "Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you."
Because the stories are told from the points of view of different people, at varying times, the author creates a vivid description of life in the reservation for everyone. The author, Sherman Alexie, admits that while the events in the book are exaggerated, the stories are autobiographical and follow events from his own childhood. This adds a depth to the story that isn’t as common in fictional works. The story is a magnificent piece of literary works, the past and present weaving in and out of each other in a way that creates a detailed understanding of Native American culture and how it was changed by the coming of the Europeans. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a book worth reading if there ever was one, its depth and humor creating a wonderful harmony of literary magic. -M.C.
1 vote StonehamHS_Library | May 3, 2011 |
Many others have reviewed this more eloquently than I can. Suffice to say - I love Alexie's writing. His turn of phrase, his humour, his portrayal of all the heartache and institutionalised prejudices, the longing and the sorrow, take me to a place i've not ever been to before. This is good heartfelt writing, and I'd put Sherman right up there with Thom Jones and Etgar Keret as one of the finest short story writers around in recent years. I will definitely be reading more of his books. ( )
  Polaris- | Jan 26, 2011 |
A collection of linked short stories -- some of them more brief character studies or bits of commentary than stories, really -- set on a Spokane Indian reservation, among characters suffering from poverty, alcoholism, and the dull ache of being crushed under the weight of someone else's history while slowly losing your own. I had somewhat mixed feelings about the writing; there are places where it feels almost a little too aggressively literary for my tastes, if that makes any sense. But at its best, it has a kind of bitter poetry, with a wry sense of humor underneath it, and a bleak sense of despair under that.

Also, Alexie is a genius at titles. ( )
  bragan | Dec 5, 2010 |
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For Bob, Dick, Mark, and Ron
For Adrian, Joy, Leslie, Simon,
and all those Native writerswhose words an music
have made mine possible
First words
Although it was winter, the nearest ocean was 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.
Still, Indians have a way of surviving. But it's almost like Indians can easily survive the big stuff. Mass murder, loss of language and land rights. It's the small things that hurt the most. The white waitresses who wouldn't take an order, Tonto, and the Washington ******** . ("The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Any More")
...James says he knows more. He says the earth is our grandmother and that technology has become our mother and that they both hate each other. (Jesus Christ's Half Brother is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian reservation")
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NOTE: The 20th Anniversary edition (2005 & later) is a DIFFERENT BOOK, with two additional stories.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802141676, Paperback)

When it was first published in 1993, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven established Sherman Alexie as a stunning new talent of American letters. The basis for the award-winning movie Smoke Signals, it remains one of his most beloved and widely praised books. In this darkly comic collection, Alexie brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. These twenty-two interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with passion and affection, myth and dream. Against a backdrop of alcohol, car accidents, laughter, and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, men and women, and, most poetically, modern Indians and the traditions of the past.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:27 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Paints a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation.

(summary from another edition)

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