Monday, July 5, 2010

Short Story/Essay Week Spotlight: Sherman Alexie

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

In this darkly comic collection of 22 interlocked tales, Alexia brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Ten Little Indians

Even as they often make readers laugh, Alexie's stories are driven by a haunting lyricism and naked candor that cut to the heart of the human experience. The result is a short-story collection that has been hailed as Alexie's "best in years" ("Austin American-Statesman").

The Toughest Indian in the World

This acclaimed collection of stories presents the kind of native American rarely seen in literature--one portrayed without stereotypes--who pays his bills, holds down jobs, and falls in and out of love.

War Dances

Alexie delivers a heartbreaking and hilarious collection of stories that explores the precarious balance between self-preservation and external responsibility in art, family, and the world at large.

War Dances won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award. At the announcement, Award Judge Al Young stated, " War Dances taps every vein and nerve, every tissue, every issue that quickens the current blood-pulse: parenthood, divorce, broken links, sex, gender and racial conflict, substance abuse, medical neglect, 9/11, Official Narrative vs. What Really Happened, settler religion versus native spirituality; marketing, shopping and war, war, war. All the heartbreaking ways we don't live now — this is the caring, eye-opening beauty of this rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book." Alexie himself calls the book a "mixtape" of writing styles and forms (with) stories, poems, themes intersecting themes."

1 comment:

Starleigh Grass said...

Hey, great job highlighting this prolific author!

Some people write stuff and it just sticks in your brain and you think back to it in situation after situation. Alexie has many lines that come back to me again and again.

Probably my favorite two come from the story The Toughest Indian in the world:

"All of us, Indian and white, are haunted by salmon." What a statement on the environment, ecology, and the spiritual nature of environmental degradation.

"I know enough to cover my heart in any crowd of white people." As an Aboriginal person this one just cracks me up everytime I read it. Too funny.