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Customer Review

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the horses screamed, 28 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Reservation Blues (Paperback)
I have read some terrific novels recently, by the likes of Henning Mankell, Elmore Leonard and the great Walter Mosley; but I was not prepared for the sad beauty, edgy high spirits and mystical shadings of Sherman Alexie`s small masterpiece.
A brief review cannot hope to do such a rich, unusual, profoundly moving book the justice it deserves.
An elderly, `undead` Robert Johnson, the legendary blues singer who `sold his soul to the devil` to play better than any other guitarist, arrives `at the crossroad` (naturally!) in the Spokane reservation in Washington state. He is met by the gentle Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who directs the tortured bluesman to Big Momma on the hill who acts as a kind of fallible earth-momma come witch-woman throughout the book, and is the only one who can cure what ails Johnson. However, when he goes up the hill he leaves his guitar behind...
Said guitar has a mind and music of its own. Thomas forms a band with his ne`er-do-well friends plus a captivating couple of sisters name of Chess and Chequers. They hit the road. That`s when a whole lot of trouble starts - but a whole lot of redemption too.
That`s all I`m going to give away. But one thing I want to emphasise is that, though this wonderful novel may make you want to cry in places, it sure as hell will make you laugh. Alexie has a fine, unsentimental ear, and doesn`t for a moment indulge in the `noble Indian` myth. The perhaps paradoxical result is that Reservation Blues shows its varied, rounded, utterly believable characters (even the `supernatural` ones) in a bravely human, likable and - ultimately, because so human - noble light.
This is a unique work. I`m glad it`s in my life. Read it! Oh, and the screaming horses? As I say, read it...
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Location: Manchester, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,224,991