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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven [Paperback]

Sherman Alexie

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Book Description

24 Oct 2013
Sherman Alexie's celebrated first collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, established its author as one of America's most important and provocative voices. The basis for the award-winning movie Smoke Signals, it remains one of his best loved and widely praised books twenty years after its initial publication. Vividly weaving memory, fantasy, and stark reality to paint a portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian reservation, this book introduces some of Alexie's most beloved characters, including Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the storyteller who no one seems to listen to, and his compatriot, Victor, the sports hero who turned into a recovering alcoholic. Now with an updated introduction from Alexie, these twenty-four tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet they are filled with passion and affection, myth and charm. Against a backdrop of addiction, car accidents, laughter, and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between men and women, Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, and, most poetically, modern Indians and the traditions of the past.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; 20th edition (24 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802121993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802121998
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 844,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Alexie is a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. He has won the Pen/Faulkner Award, Stranger Genius Award in Literature, " Boston Globe"-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, and the Malamud Award.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
7 of 7 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 14 Nov 2013
By Neurasthenic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 21 Jan 2014
By Maria Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sherman Alexie is a spectacular writer. If you have not had the chance to read this book, I strongly suggest the purchase!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, so glad to see a new edition 23 Jan 2014
By d volweiler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Will Make You Laugh and Cry 23 May 2014
By Jillian Igarashi - Published on Amazon.com
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: [...]
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Short Stories 12 May 2014
By Carl H. Hanson - Published on Amazon.com
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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