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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book, short stories, but more "true" than many works of nonfiction
I will confess to having known almost nothing about this book before buying it. "Native American" writing is sometimes filled with spiritualism, and with rare exceptions I avoid the stuff.

However, Sherman Alexie gave a great interview in the New York Times book review last month, full of warmth and humor, and expressing a personal dislike of "Native American"...
Published 12 months ago by Neurasthenic

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Drinking, driving and dancing on the Spokane Indian Reservation
This is a collection of related short stories of life on the Spokane Indian reservation in Washington state. There is a lot of drinking, dancing, and driving. The characters in the stories long for the heroic pre-reservation life. Alexie does a good job describing the problems and struggles of life on the reservation. The recurring characters are interesting if not...
Published 20 days ago by HT


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book, short stories, but more "true" than many works of nonfiction, November 14, 2013
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
I will confess to having known almost nothing about this book before buying it. "Native American" writing is sometimes filled with spiritualism, and with rare exceptions I avoid the stuff.

However, Sherman Alexie gave a great interview in the New York Times book review last month, full of warmth and humor, and expressing a personal dislike of "Native American" books himself. He won my admiration and I decided he had earned my book purchase.

To me, this book seems to have a lot in common with Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," in that it's fiction, but uses fiction to tell deeper truths than might have been possible with a strict work of nonfiction. Also, like "The Things They Carried," this is a collection of short stories, but with so much overlap in themes and characters and setting that it more-or-less tells a single story.

It's a story about childhood, and being an Indian (Alexie uses the word freely, so I'm going to use it here), and growing up on the "rez." And it's a story about a world drenched with alcohol and drug abuse. I found "The Trial of Thomas Builds-the-Fire" and "Jesus Christ's Half-Brother is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation" to be the strongest pieces in the collection.

Some of the characters in some of these stories experience victory, but for the most part they're stuck in a difficult place, far from the centers of commerce and culture, jealous of their ancestors, bitter at their contemporaries, proud even when there don't seem to be any concrete accomplishments to be proud of. I've lived in areas with significant Native American populations, but I think my empathy is much deeper for having read this collection than it could possibly have been before.

This is the 20th Anniversary Edition, and it includes two introductory essays. One is an e-mailed dialog between Alexie and a fellow Native American Writer. This is forgettable. The other is Alexie's reminiscences about publishing his first collection of poems, and how against incredible odds it was picked up by the New York Times Book Review and given a glowing review, and how totally his life changed as a result. This collection was his follow-up to that small book of poems. I am glad this essay was included, to remind us that, for all the injustice and difficulties in this country, including those experienced by Indians living on reservations, sometimes America does deliver on its promise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, so glad to see a new edition, January 22, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
The stories in this book are heartbreaking and brilliant all at once. The writing is direct, humane, inspiring and smart. Sherman Alexie remains a distinguished voice, and I'm glad to see this 20th anniversary edition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Father & Farther, October 20, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
How do you "become" a person? That is to say, how do you become connected to your Society? Where do you fit? Who are your People. To what Tribe do you belong? The answers to these questions - we need to ride them for many years, perhaps for all our days. Ahead of us, our Parents couldn't provide us. They had their own thing to do through & we have ours. Some of these questions we need to answer by ourselves, by living daily life, making mistakes, & taking notice of where we have ended up now. Behind us, our children are growing up. Will they see us as losers, chronically depressed misfits?
If we are blessed (or cursed) by creative dreams of how life could be, would be, should be, & if we try to implement some of these dreams so that the fantasy of them may diminish, but the reality grow....that's a Way, isn't it? But to travel on this Path of Life, you would need guidance from HIgher Good People. Nu? I am not trying to be Right, I'm just ridin' these questions.

Anyhow, this lil' book has some wonderful information on how to be, & how not to be. If you think it's not about you, maybe you are continuing to think with a forked mind. Too bad about that. It is the roots of the movie Smoke Signals, so if there are any of you men out there with a real issue of the relationship with your Father, read this & be sure to see the movie. It may save you from years of Therapy that wouldn't help as well.

Sherman Alexie's best place is describing the FAther-Son relationship, & detailing how it is your job as a son to get thru the hate, authority issues, behaviors, & traumas of that, & doing it to find the forgiveness & Love. There is nothing more important for you, your wives, your children, your family, your time of life. *Alan*
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, January 21, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
Sherman Alexie is a spectacular writer. If you have not had the chance to read this book, I strongly suggest the purchase!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Will Make You Laugh and Cry, May 22, 2014
This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
Read it if … you enjoy short stories or nontraditional narratives. Each short story has ties to the next, sometimes sharing characters and most times sharing settings. The stories are brief, curated in digestible chunks, but it’s just as easy to sit down and read the whole book in one go.

Don’t read it if … you don’t want to feel feelings. Some stories are deeply tragic and will force you to pause and reflect on concepts like loss, self-loathing, a history of bitterness. I’m not even white and I felt white guilt. Alexie doesn’t pull any punches, even though he punches in beautiful, lyrical way. (Not sorry about the mixed metaphor.)

This book is like … Pinckney Benedict’s The Wrecking Yard, which also resonates with Alexie’s structure of intertwining short stories and myth-based plots. Of course, we shouldn’t speak of Native American Literature without paying homage to Leslie Marmon Silko and her beautiful novel Ceremony. The complimentary pain and the love of being Native American, especially at a time when the U.S. is at war, that drives the protagonist in Ceremony also drives Alexie’s cast of characters. For younger readers or a more humorous look into life on the Spokane Reservation, read Alexie’s award-winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which was also beautifully illustrated by Ellen Forney.

Check out the full review on my blog: [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Short Stories, May 12, 2014
This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
I've read all of his books of fiction, as well as many of his books of poetry, and this continues to be my all-time favorite. His writing makes me laugh, think, and wonder about humanity and life. I have read this book many times and still find something in each reading. I can't recommend this book enough for any fans of short stories, Northwest residents (former and current), and those that just want to laugh.
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5.0 out of 5 stars nice book, April 27, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
The book is in very good condition, and the stories inside are really interesting to read. really meaningful and high quality stories
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, April 1, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
Love this book, love this author. Go to his website if you want to read very well written thoughts and prose!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 25, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
A wonderfully written, insightful, and highly engaging set of real life tales! Highly recommended!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 2, 2014
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This review is from: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback)
Great book, as stated, came on time! Thanks!
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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition)
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition) by Sherman Alexie (Paperback - October 8, 2013)
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