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Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
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Reservation Blues (original 1995; edition 2005)

by Sherman Alexie (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,890276,761 (3.92)57
The rise to fame of Coyote Springs, an all-Indian rock-and-roll band, tracing its journey from a Spokane reservation all the way to New York. A humorous exploration of serious subjects: the effect of Christianity on Native Americans, cultural assimilation and its impact on relations between Indian men and Indian women. By the author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.… (more)
Member:coffeecrusader
Title:Reservation Blues
Authors:Sherman Alexie (Author)
Info:Grove Press (2005), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (Author) (1995)

  1. 30
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Contemporary fiction about searching for identity
  2. 30
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Both deal with ethnic conflict and searching for identity.
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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Folksy and musical, I enjoyed the way this book wove together classic rock, modern Native American life, and darkly funny references to what we see as traditional Native American culture. ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
Very interesting. I thought I wasn't into it in the beginning, but kept coming back. Couldn't stop reading. It immersed me completely in a dream-like world. Very effective. I think this one will linger for a long time. I'll seek out more of his work. He walks a very fine line between detailing poverty and getting you to empathise (rather than just sympathise), and does it well. I really appreciated that. ( )
  RFellows | Apr 29, 2020 |
Musical lyrics lead into each chapter of Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues, their voice growing convincingly stronger as the novel progresses, providing a powerful song above the tale. Magical realism threads chapters together like guitar strings playing the tune. And heavy shadows of alcoholism and abuse form a drum-beat underneath. Reservation Blues is probably the most musical novel I’ve read recently, appropriately as it’s a haunting tale of musicians, talent and betrayal.

Is talent a gift, a labor, or a curse? Is music the stuff of dreams or of nightmares? Is the reservation a haven or a prison? And is family a treasure or a millstone? This story, told through the eyes of a native American, is stark in its portrayal of ill-treatment at the hands of conquerors, yet beautiful in its magical sense of hope in the face of despair. Even as everything turns to dust, the voice of Big Mom waits, offering wisdom to those who will listen, practical help to those who will pause long enough, and sorrowful regret for those she knows will do neither.

With magical realism used to perfect effect, this novel contrasts Native myth with Catholic practicality, drunken folly with the follies of power, and story with reality. It’s oddly beautiful, haunting and evocative… and musical.

Disclosure: I’ve wanted to read it for ages and I was delighted to finally get my own copy. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Sep 21, 2019 |
Funny and sad... ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
Witty, serious, humane, raging, life-affirming, and tragic: life among today's Spokane Indians, with their ramshackle HUD housing, their commodity applesauce, their cheap beer, and their mixed religions. No punches are pulled, and many are thrown as Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Victor Joseph, and Junior Polatkin get a hold of Robert Johnson's guitar and ride it where it takes them.

It's Indian culture that is the true protagonist of this book, the story and the characters existing mainly to draw its portrait, and not Indian culture as you've seen it in the movies and television. There are no medicine men here, no stern warriors, no elderly chiefs full of strength and wisdom. Instead we've got young people suffering the effects of abuse and neglect and older adults beaten by disappointment, alcoholism, and bad choices. It's grim, but it's never boring, and never quite too much to take. This is partly because of the bleak but restorative laughter that comes back again and again to lighten the mood, and partly because there's so much to learn here about the human spirit and how it survives no matter the circumstances. It leaves you strangely confident that someday, somehow, the Indians will have healed from what's been done to them. ( )
  john.cooper | Aug 29, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexie, ShermanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexie, ShermanLyrics, Coyote Springs songssecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boyd, JimLyrics, Coyote Springs songssecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, RobertWords and musicsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McClain, RachelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minor, WendellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
God's old lady, she sure is a big chick.
-- Charles Mingus
I went to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
-- Robert Johnson
Dedication
for Diane

for Etta Adams
First words
In the one hundred and eleven years since the creation of the Spokane Indian Reservation in 1881, not one person, Indian or otherwise, had ever arrived there by accident.
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The rise to fame of Coyote Springs, an all-Indian rock-and-roll band, tracing its journey from a Spokane reservation all the way to New York. A humorous exploration of serious subjects: the effect of Christianity on Native Americans, cultural assimilation and its impact on relations between Indian men and Indian women. By the author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

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