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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in…
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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993)

by Sherman Alexie

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2,064554,587 (4.03)46
  1. 10
    The Poor Man's Guide to an Affordable, Painless Suicide: Stories by Schuler Benson (literary.jess)
    literary.jess: Both are comprised of short stories that are unapologetically gritty, featuring characters whose voices aren't often heard in popular literature.
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Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
This book is a collection of short stories that are about life on a Native American reservation in Washington. The stories are semi-autobiographical and many of the characters are featured in multiple stories. This wasn't a fun read, but life on reservations is not much fun. These stories did not have the humor of Diary of a Part Time Indian, which I gave 5 stars. However I thought that it was an important glimpse into the issues that Native Americans face in today's world. The characters in these stories face racism, alcoholism, and extreme poverty. Even the stories about characters that manage to leave the reservation for a while have the ghosts of the reservation with them. Overall, while it was not a fun read for me I think it is an important one for spreading awareness of Native American issues in the modern world. ( )
  Cora-R | Jun 24, 2018 |
The tone of these twenty-four stories is so consistent, with characters appearing in multiple stories, that it reads more like one long story with the protagonist switching from one character to another, Victor or his cousin, or Adrian, or Thomas Builds-the-Fire. What emerges is an impression of late 20th century life on the Spokane Reservation. And life there is both the same and different than it is elsewhere. Poor children grow up seeing their parents or their relatives as heroes. Some people drink too much; others drink diet-Pepsi. Some people are good at basketball. Others are good at stories. A few are good at school, though education rarely serves them well. But permeating everything is the question of what it means to be an Indian (the term that these characters use to refer to themselves) here, now, and tomorrow.

Alexie’s writing is relaxed and accessible, even when it soars lyrically. The stories give the impression of simplicity — broad brush strokes, well-marked action, sentimental moral — but just below the surface there lies a painful personal encounter with history. When everything you do is another chapter in the tragic history of Native Americans, it’s hard to just play basketball. At times Alexie’s characters sound like they desperately want to escape their own cultural baggage, while at others they reconcile themselves to carrying the load at least to next rest station.

I look forward to reading more from Sherman Alexie.

Recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jan 19, 2018 |
Sherman Alexie offers stories to love -
"Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at Woodstock,
"Every Little Hurricane," and "THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO SAY PHOENIX, ARIZONA" -
and ones that don't feel so good, like those with Thomas-Builds-The-Fire getting hurt or "Crazy Horse Dreams."

His creative non-fiction or "reservation realism" takes readers into the heart of "changing the world, not the reservation."

The way is open to deeply experience many contradicting points of view and to allow entry of our dreams. ( )
  m.belljackson | Oct 9, 2017 |
This is Alexie's breakthrough book that some call a collection of short stories and others a interconnected novel. No matter what you call it, its a wonderful and beautiful series of stories that tells of the lives of American Indians in the Pacific Northwest in the 70's and 80's. Some are just that, stories about life, like "The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Anymore", where a couple of guys hang out on the porch and what the world go by at their feet. To the almost science-fiction story called "Distances", where Alexie examines what might happen after some apocalypse where the only survivors are Indians living on the "Rez".

I'm not a poetry guy, but a lot of the time this book reads as prose for poetry. Excellent.

"Hell, my joy in winning is always much smaller than my pain in losing." - Introduction

"It's hard to be optimistic on the reservation. When a glass sits on the table here, people don't wonder if it's half filled or half empty. They just hope its good beer. 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 waitress who wouldn't take an order, Tonto, the Washington Redskins." - The Only Traffic Signal...

"The television was always loud, too loud, until every emotion was measured by the half hour. We hid our faces behind masks that suggested other histories; we touched hands accidentally and our skin sparked like a personal revolution We stared across the room at each other, waited for the conversation and the conversion, watched wasps and flies battering against the windows. We were children; we were open mouths. Open in hunger, in anger, in laughter, in prayer. Jesus, we all want to survive." - Family Portrait

10/10

S: 6/1/17 - 6/20/17 (21 Days) ( )
1 vote mahsdad | Jun 25, 2017 |
A collection of short stories about living on a Spokane reservation. The mystical element weaves in and out of the stories, adding something new and different to the pages, hearkening (I imagine, as I am no expert) back to traditional Native American storytelling. This is a good collection, that plays off stereotypes but only to make people aware of what it was like to live on the reservation in the 70's and 80's. ( )
  J9Plourde | Jun 13, 2017 |
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NOT THE SAME AS THE 1993 WORK. This is the 20th anniversary edition (2005+) with two additional stories: "Flight" and "Junior Polatkin's Wild West Show."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802141676, Paperback)

In this darkly comic short story collection, Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realizxsm to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spoke Indian Reservation. These 22 interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with passion and affection, myth and dream. There is Victor, who as a nine-year-old crawled between his uncoscious parents hoping that the alcohol seeping through their skins might help him sleep. Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who tells his stories long after people stop listening, and Jimmy Many Horses, dying of cancer, who writes letters on stationary that reads "From the Death Bed of James Many Horses III," even though he actually writes them on his kitchen table. 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,a dn most poetically, between modern Indians and the traditions of the past.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Offers a fictional portrait of the characters, language, traditions, and daily life of those living on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

» see all 2 descriptions

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