From Publishers Weekly
Whether slyly identifying irony as a white man's invention, or deftly moving from prose-like multilayered narratives to formal poetry and song structures, this fifth collection from poet (The Business of Fancydancing; etc.), novelist (Indian Killer; etc.) and screenwriter (Smoke Signals) Alexie demonstrates many of his skills. Most prominent perhaps is his ability to handle multiple perspectives and complex psychological subject matter with a humor that feeds readability: "Successful non-Indian writers are viewed as well-informed about Indian life. Successful mixed-blood writers are viewed as wonderful translators of Indian life. Successful Indian writers are viewed as traditional storytellers of Indian life." Poems such as the title one, a haunting chant for lost family, and "The Theology of Cockroaches," do some vivid scene setting: "...never/ woke to a wall filled with cockroaches/ spelling out my name, never/ stepped into a dark room and heard/ the cockroaches baying at the moon." At times Alexie allows his language, within the lineated poems almost exclusively, to slacken into clich?. The opening, multipart prose piece "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Me" is arguably the strongest in the book, juxtaposing roughly chronological anecdotes with "An Incomplete List of People I Wish Were Indian" and the formula "Poetry = anger x imagination." Other poems tell of "Migration, 1902" and "Sex in Motel Rooms"; describe "How it Happens" and "Second Grief"; and develop "The Anatomy of Mushrooms." Alexie's latest is as powerful and challenging as his previous excellent books, and should only add readers to his ever-widening audience. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Alexie, author most recently of the short story collection The Toughest Indian in the World
[BKL Ap 1 00], expresses an anger as large and molten as the earth's core; but like the earth, which conceals its heat beneath forests and oceans, he cloaks his with mordant humor and a rough-and-ready lyricism. In this bracing collection of poems and poem-tight prose pieces, he targets lies and hypocrisy. Alexie mocks the mealymouthed cant of the politically correct and, in a lashing poem titled "Open Books," the arrogance of a certain ilk of poet, then, elsewhere, tempers his rage with tenderness. His hard-hitting poems are loosely knit and suitable for performance, but his prose pieces are constructed as diabolically as barbed wire, especially the clever yet emotionally resonant essay "The Warriors," in which musings on baseball segue into thoughts on friendship and such frank disclosures as his confession that although television once had him convinced that white women were sexier than brown women, life taught him the truth about love. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to the