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Sherman Alexie has been described as "one of the major lyric voices of our time" by the New York Times Book Review, which selected his The Business of Fancydancing as a "1992 Notable Book of the Year." Alexie's several books of poetry include Old Shirts & New Skins, The Summer of Black Widows, and the recently published One Stick Song. Named one of "20 Writers for theSherman Alexie has been described as "one of the major lyric voices of our time" by the New York Times Book Review, which selected his The Business of Fancydancing as a "1992 Notable Book of the Year." Alexie's several books of poetry include Old Shirts & New Skins, The Summer of Black Widows, and the recently published One Stick Song. Named one of "20 Writers for the 21st Century" by The New Yorker, Alexie competed in and won the World Heavyweight Championship Poetry Bout at the Taos Poetry Circus in 1998, 1999 and 2000, becoming the first poet in the history of the Bout to hold the title for three years. Alexie's first screenplay, Smoke Signals, based on his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, became the first feature film produced, written, and directed by American Indians. It premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy. In 1999 Smoke Signals received a Christopher Award, an award given for works of art "which affirm the highest values of the human spirit." The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, published in 1994, was a citation winner for the PEN/Hemmingway Award for Best First Fiction. Other works of fiction include Reservation Blues, selected as a Booklist Editor's Choice Award for Fiction; Indian Killer, a New York Times Notable Book and one of People magazine's "Best of Pages" choices; and his most recent short story collection, The Toughest Indian in The World, published by Atlantic Monthly press in May 2000. Sherman Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian from Wellpinit, Washington-a town on the Spokane Indian reservation. He currently resides in Seattle, WA, with his wife and son, and is working on new poems and stories....

Title : Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight In..
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780871135483
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 223 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight In.. Reviews

  • Casey
    2019-03-24 11:27

    This is one of my favorite books to teach. I give it to my tenth graders. We do most of it as a read aloud. We do most of it as discussion. My students enjoy this book because they don't think they'll be able to connect with native americans on the west coast when they're alt school kids on the east coast, but then they're amazed. Some themes - poverty, alcoholism, depression, love, passion, sex, confusion, loneliness, isolation - are universal.This is one of the few books that I have read with a class, had a student go to jail during the reading, and come back asking to read the book and tell me about how he picked up another book about native americans while in jail because he missed LR&TFFiH so much. That's probably the best endorsement I can give a book.

  • Mariel
    2019-02-23 19:24

    "We have to believe in the power of imagination because it's all we have, and ours is stronger than theirs." - Lawrence ThorntonMake me jealous. If you can make me jealous, I am yours. I was kinda jealous of the community because they HAD one, despite tearing itself down in the no-past and no-future. I kinda loved these stories. I was almost belonging to it. Sometimes I felt lonely from the possessiveness of their heroes. That kinda sucked because I've been trying hard to avoid loneliness. Sometimes I understood the loneliness that caused that and I'd have uncomfortable thoughts about why I don't feel community and communicative.The possessiveness is what kept them connected, and also what kept them down. The lower points were fascination in what happened. My highs were the fascination in the stories of what could be. The imagination, Mariel!The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven is the second recommendation I've tried from karen's readers advisory for all group. karen's project for school is to help readers think about what they are looking for in a book, helping other readers find their deepest book desires. Like the kinds of books you REALLY hope to find but seldom know about how to go towards discovery (since I'm nuts I just call them my fetishisms to myself). The criteria can get really specific. I asked for recommendations for short stories that would make me feel as Winesburg, Ohio did (in my woefully lacking in real reaching out words). The feeling of Winesburg being the connected best way as souls turned inside (it's hard to put it how I mean it!). I wanted short stories because it is hard to take that kind of closeness for long. Sometimes you can't bear to be in that life prison for, well, life.Christy (she hasn't read Winesburg) suggested reading 'Tonto'. Thank-you, Christy! (Check out her great review of this book that is much, much better than mine.)"I know how all my dreams end anyway."I was not a fan of the introduction by the author. If you ever read the ass-patting praise quotes on the back of book jackets? Alexie gave me major vibes of buying into that. "The great new voice". 'Tonto' was published in 1993. There was an indie film version, Smoke Signals . MIRAMAX DID IT. It played at SUNDANCE. Y'know, ROBERT REDFORD'S Sundance. Gasp! (I haven't seen it. That'll show those guys who used to insist I'd seen everything since the '70s. I clearly haven't!). Blah blah, it was in its tenth publication. He wanted to give a fuck you to this lady agent who didn't think the stories were ready yet, that they needed more work. Um.... The book is very good. But I don't like the feeling I get from the "great new voice" stuff. I think the book should live as best it can and not worry about being scene changing. What the hell is that, anyway? If you got published and it all worked out, why worry about some lady agent from freaking years ago (but not nearly long enough to be considered a classic).Anyway, I thought that Alexie should have taken Thomas Builds-the-Fire's advice and live for the now. I really liked Thomas. I got the trying to know how other people felt through stories feeling from him. The inventing your own reasons to live by knowing others around you through imagining what could matter to them. Community type stuff there.Alexie also wrote in the introduction that his detractors didn't approve of the alcoholism of his stories. I'm totally with him on that just being autobiographical. Do they really think that writing stories about people who drink is the problem in the situation? Really?My mom was always calling my dad a drunk Indian (he died of drink, as did five of his six brothers. The other surely will do the same). (His father was Cherokee. I'm about as Cherokee as Johnny Depp is, I guess.) That and thinking he had a Jesus beard were my earliest impressions of him. (Not that my mama spared me the abuse stories. She didn't.) My mom might have meant it as a slur. But she STILL sighs over how good looking he was (these days I think he looked like a prototype hipster). My mom would totally be one of those annoying "white people" written about in 'Tonto'.I did wonder if the introduction bitterness had to do about himself being one of the heroes who made it. That would be a funny feeling. To be a hero...

  • Nathan
    2019-03-14 12:29

    I finished The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven last night on the way to a speech Alexie was giving. I had enjoyed it well enough—Alexie was consistently funny and thought provoking through the entire collection—but it wasn't until afterwards, in a book signing and meet and greet that I actually got it. As I got up to the table, it became clear that I was a bit anxious. I don't do well in crowds, and I was a bit star stuck by his presence. So as I rambled through my words, he finished signing and offered to take a picture with me. Because my hands were shaking (I've never been the kind of person who's cool under pressure), he grabbed my phone, cracked a joke about how awkward I was acting, made a funny face and snapped a photo. It turned out well: It's this combination of humor and kindness that's almost ashamed of itself that makes Alexie so readable. He writes proud people, people who are afraid to seem vulnerable and afraid to be close to others. I think of Jimmy ManyHorses who even on his deathbed refuses to be totally open and trusting with his wife. I think of Norma who flees from both Jimmy and Junior when they each show her what they consider to be their deepest self. I think of Victor who repeatedly shuts Thomas' kindnesses out, because his sense of dignity doesn't make allowances for support and real friendship. In these flawed portraits, there are moments where the realness of the people he's created shines through. The cores of each person's identity—in terms of race, family and overarching humanity— are repeatedly exposed here, and at each instance it's clear how deeply Alexie knows that putting out in the open unexpressed pieces of oneself can just as easily feel painful, beautiful or both at once. I'm still amazed that Alexie was only 26 when he wrote this. I'm ridiculously excited to dive into more of his work.

  • Christy
    2019-03-18 13:54

    Alexie's collection of linked short stories is a tale of life on an Indian reservation; it is an exploration of the ways in which Indians deal with the pains and the joys of their lives (storytelling, dance, basketball, food, alcohol); it is a reflection on the relationship between past, present, and future; and it is a meditation on storytelling as a means of bearing witness and as a means of creation and change.The first story of the collection, "Every Little Hurricane," introduces both the functions of storytelling and the interconnectedness of pain and joy. Told from the perspective of a nine-year-old boy, "Every Little Hurricane" describes a scene at a party in which the young protagonist watches his uncles fight in the yard: "He could see his uncles slugging each other with such force that they had to be in love. Strangers would never want to hurt each other that badly" (2). Immediately, we are shown this connection between hate and love, between the "specific and beautiful" and the "dangerous and random" (5). The young boy, Victor, does not really take part in the action of the story, however. He is merely a witness: "They were all witnesses and nothing more. For hundreds of years, Indians were witnesses to crimes of an epic scale" (3). The second story, "A Drug Called Tradition," takes up the question of time. Three young Indian men try a new drug together, one that gives them visions of a glorious past (horse stealing, music, dance), only to be warned in the end against the seductive appeal of this past as Thomas tells them "not to slow dance with [their] skeletons" (21). This is explained further: "Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a skeleton walking one step in front of you" (21) Sometimes these skeletons can trap you or they may try to tempt you, but "what you have to do is keep moving, keep walking, in step with your skeletons. . . . [and] no matter what they do, keep walking, keep moving. And don't wear a watch. Hell, Indians never need to wear a watch because your skeletons will always remind you about the time. See, it is always now. That's what Indian time is. The past, the future, all of it is wrapped up in the now. That's how it is. We are trapped in the now" (22). The past, tradition, can be glorious, Thomas warns the young men, but looking only backward is dangerous; similarly, looking only forward to a potential future is dangerous. Both are dangerous because they prevent a clear vision and an actual experience of the actual, present, real world. In "Imagining the Reservation," Alexie presents a formula that is key to the entire book. He writes, "Survival = Anger X Imagination. Imagination is the only weapon on the reservation" (150). He notes the limitations of imagination, asking, "Does every Indian depend on Hollywood for a twentieth-century vision?" (151) and "How can we imagine a new language when the language of the enemy keeps our dismembered tongues tied to his belt? How can we imagine a new alphabet when the old jumps off billboards down into our stomachs?" (152). But he also ends the story with a call for more imagination, for imagination that has concrete results:"There are so many possibilities in the reservation, 7-11, so many methods of survival. Imagine every Skin on the reservation is the new lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones, on the cover of a rock-and-roll magazine. Imagine forgiveness is sold 2 for 1. Imagine every Indian is a video game with braids. Do you believe laughter can save us? All I know is that I count coyotes to help me sleep. Didn't you know? Imagination is the politics of dreams; imagination turns every word into a bottle rocket. Adrian, imagine every day is Independence Day and save us from traveling the river changed; save us from hitchhiking the long road home. Imagine an escape. Imagine that your own shadow on the wall is a perfect door. Imagine a song stronger than penicillin. Imagine a spring with water that mends broken bones. Imagine a drum which wraps itself around your heart. Imagine a story that puts wood in the fireplace." (152-3)The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven is a book that is not without hope, but it is a hope that is thoroughly aware of what has lost that cannot be regained and of what losses may be sustained in the future. It is a hope that dares not look into the future at the expense of the present or the past. Alexie writes in the final story, "Witnesses, Secret and Not," that "sometimes it seems like all Indians can do is talk about the disappeared" (222), asking "at what point do we just re-create the people who have disappeared from our lives?" (222). At what point is the storytelling and the memory a new creation and what is the cost of this memory and this creation? Imagination--the key component of both this kind of memory and of storytelling--he seems to say, is both a burden and a tool.

  • Pamela
    2019-03-01 16:29

    We need more authors like Sherman Alexie. Being Native American in the U.S. is like living in our own foreign country within a country. No one besides an Indian REALLY knows what it is like to live on a reservation. Alexie vividly paints this picture in a no-nonsense, brutally honest way. I love that. I wish general joe-public had more of a grasp of what growing up Native American is like instead of applying the age-old stigmas of uneducated diabetic drunks who run the casinos and play BINGO. I love my heritage and am desperately trying to keep it alive with my children. We are a dying breed.....only a shell of what we used to be before the Europeans came...and yet so rich in culture and tenacity. I appreciate how Alexie captures this in his writing. Today is a good day to die. I found myself remembering some of the lingo from the rez and way it is spoken. I love how Alexie brings this in...enit, and ya~hey. I could feel the beat of the drums through each story. Echoing in the wind where ever I am..covering me in a blanket, bringing me peace. While on the reservation, there always seemed to be drums in the air. I would step outside the hospital during my night shift for a break and hear drums beating in the distance. Like a lullaby. An instant stress reliever. A soft breeze combing through the hairs of my arms. Comfort.This is what Indians are good at. Living for today. Living the NOW. is a good day to die. is a good day to read a book. Today is a good day to read Sherman Alexie. Bring it on dude....more, more, more....

  • Xueting
    2019-03-05 14:47

    This is one of his earlier short story collections, and I think Sherman Alexie definitely got better at writing later on in his career. Several of the stories here left me skimming because I was confused, bored or both. Some ended too abruptly. In some, it felt like Alexie was going a bit too experimental on the structure and I got lost. But most of the stories were so excellent. That's why short story collections are so hard to review, for me, because they can be pretty uneven or inconsistent like this one. The second half in the collection had much better stories than the first half. I like the stories that had Thomas Builds-the-Fire, especially the "Phoenix, Arizona" story. The first story ("Every Little Hurricane") was a great opening story, the one with that crazy-long title (the longest one) that mentions Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock was also good. The standouts to me are "Imagining the Reservation," the "My favourite tumor" story, the titular story, and "Witnesses, Secret and Not". I find Sherman Alexie a remarkable and special writer because of how he blends sharp humour with the realism of life as a Native American, on a reservation. His humour is so self-aware and not too serious to be a satire, such that I can actually enjoy thinking about the real political and cultural issues behind each story. Even if the characters don't seem to have hope, I want to hope for them. That's really rare and so skilfully done here.

  • Emma
    2019-03-15 16:40

    "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" is one of Sherman Alexie's first collections of short stories. The collection deals with the lives and troubles of Indian in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. The stories also deal with characters that Alexie would later revisit in his novel "Reservation Blues" (specifically, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Victor, and Junior).In a 1996 interview with Tomson Highway, Alexie explains a bit about the title of this collection: "Kemosabe in Apache means "idiot," as Tonto in Spanish means "idiot." They were calling each other "idiot" all those years; and they both were, so it worked out. It's always going to be antagonistic relationship between indigenous people and the colonial people. I think the theme of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is universal."This universal theme permeates many of Alexie's stories here and in his other writings. The stories take a fresh, sometimes painful, look at life for modern Indians on the Spokane Reservation. Alcoholism, violence, and death all permeate this collection. At the same time, Alexie brings an extreme level of humor and compassion to these characters, making their hardships bearable to the reader.The stories here mostly interconnect, referring to the same events or at least the same characters, creating a narrative that almost flows between stories. Exceptions to this flow include "Distances." "Witnesses, Secret and Not" and "Jesus Christ's Half-Brother Is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation" also seem disconnected but remain similar in style to the rest of the collection. A follow up to "The Business of Fancydancing," a collection of short stories and poems, the stories in this collection alternate between a poetic style and a more conventional prose style.The characters in these stories have not reached "happily ever after," it is not clear if they will ever get there. Sometimes, the characters are at fault for these failures. At other times they are victims of circumstances far beyond their control. Regardless of the reason, Alexie portrays his characters with compassion and the hope that they will one day succeed. Even Victor, a drunk continuously falling off the wagon, and Lester FallsApart (whose name might say everything) are presented with a certain dignity and afforded a degree of respect throughout the stories.When writing about such modern problems as car wrecks and alcoholism, there is always the risk of being too serious, too tragic. In "A Good Story" Alexie acknowledges this fact when his self-proclaimed storyteller, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, goes out of his way to tell a happy story.Other stories remain less concerned with themes discussed and instead are focused on presenting rich narratives. One favorite is "The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Anymore" in which Victor and his friend watch reservation life from their porch while drinking Diet Pepsis. However, bar none, the best stories in this collection are the title story and "Somebody Kept Saying Powwow." Both stories are as evocative and compelling as any novel. Furthermore, in each story Alexie creates characters that are unique, well-developed and completely absorbing--no easy feat for stories of around ten pages."The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" does two important things. First, it illustrates Sherman Alexie's wide range of talents as a writer. Second, it tells a lot of good stories.You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print

  • Christine
    2019-03-07 13:50

    Maybe Alexie's best book--rough and eloquent, sweet and brutal, smoky and colorful and moving, always honest--made we want to write so bad it hurt. I found it in City Lights in SF when I was on a $300 Tercel-no-air-conditioning but a pup tent honeymoon. It's a book I always go back to. Have been following his work since...god, a long time. First went to a fiction panel he was on at [email protected], then in bright white Park City. My husband was the only native in the audience, maybe in the building, maybe in Park City. "Everything I write, I write to spite the white people who had set me up to fail," he opening of sorts. White people in audience said things like, "If I want to learn about Native Americans, I go to white people because they're objective and unbiased. HOly mother of god. I live on the same planet with these people? And we're stuck within the same atmosphere, you say? But Alexie held his own with the little chimps, and we (David and I) had a new hero. At one point, white-guy-with-cough-cherokee-grandma said "I once sat in a ceremonial circle with ten traditional Lakota medicine men" and Alexie says, "If you once sat in a circle with ten traditional Lakota medicine men, they were neither Lakota nor traditional." Or SOMETHING like that...don't quote me on it. Hubby and I were in love with Alexie immediately and forever. Of course, I already had a good start, having read Lone Ranger...oh! and poetry before that, I think, still in Moscow Idaho, I think...But I'm still reading his most recent. Over the long long long holidays my husband read ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY... on his side of the bed while I read THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD on mine. Our conversations (just not with each other): Oh. Oh! Oh, god. Fuck me. Oh my fucking god. Amazing. So beautiful. One more. One more paragraph. Wow. One more page. Just one, one, one, one... Had to turn the radio on so our children wouldn't hear. Too stunned for sex, we'd just try to sleep like that--book closed finally, knowing we've got too much work to do a.m., looking at the ceiling anyhow, hands buzzing, head buzzing, thinking of all the lovely possibilities and tongues of phrase. Thinking of all we could let go of to find that thing Alexie found or Zora found...that evocative elixir that makes you want to simultaneously die and live and pull like taffy (not like THAT...I'm a girl, nothing to pull but the longitudes themselves), then just slice off that way quietly, left to think ourselves to bliss. But now it's my turn for ABSOLUTELY TRUE. So, good night.

  • Evonne
    2019-02-23 15:24

    OMG... So glad that I'm done with this book!

  • RandomAnthony
    2019-02-25 19:30

    Sherman Alexie can flat-out write, but this book, while strong, is uneven. There are some stunning, beautiful passages along with some standard early-career passages. I liked the book enough to read more Alexie, but I don't see myself pulling it back off the shelf too often.

  • Graphicskat
    2019-03-05 11:52

    I was rooting for this one - really, I was. It's about Native Americans on the reservation, for crying out loud. You have to root for the underdog! I was trying so hard to care.Well, I stopped caring. It was hard to make heads or tails of most of the stories, and even when I did, they didn't go anywhere. Maybe that was the point, but I didn't like it.

  • Laila (BigReadingLife)
    2019-02-27 15:35

    Emulating my Goodreads and blog friend, Buried in Print, I stretched out my reading of this short story collection for almost a month! I didn't blow through it like a novel, which had been my short story habit before. I LOVED this collection, savoring my daily story. It's got that Alexie mix of sad and funny, full of quirky details, some mundane, some magical. Each story is an exploration of being an Indian (Alexie's term) in America, both on the reservation and off. Lots of broken families and broken dreams, but also love, basketball glory, dancing, and delicious fry bread. I re-watched the movie "Smoke Signals," which is based on a story here, and it was good, as I remembered it. If you've never read an Alexie story, you really need to pick this up.

  • Lee
    2019-03-16 13:33

    alexie's most famous book. was developed into the indie-movie hit smoke signals. a collection of inter-connected short stories that follows a few central characters through reservation life in the latter half of the 20th century. american indian myth, religion, and traditional culture all are addressed by alexie as he attempts to find a place for them in contemporary life. also, the paradox (and alexie seems to argue, at times, crutch) of the reservation is exposed. alexie's prose is wonderful and his descriptions apt for their subjects (dream sequences, drunk sequences, lonesome sequences). no answers are given, or even attempt to be given by alexie. this collection simply gives the reader an idea of what growing up as an american indian on a reservation may have been like in the past 30 years.

  • Libby
    2019-02-27 18:39

    This is the book that really made me fall in love with Sherman Alexie, made me want to name my cat after him, made me go on to read everything I could find of his. I had seen the movie Smoke Signals, which was written by Alexie based on this book, a few years before and though I had liked it very much and my mother has me do my Victor/Thomas calls often, it took me awhile to actually read the collection of stories the film was based on. Alexie has a repetitive way of writing, that you don't really notice until you have read several of his books, and it is this is what creates a whole nother world. Not just the world of an Indian reservation, but a world where these characters actually come to life and breathe.

  • Shayla
    2019-03-07 13:32

    Well, I still like Alexie, but I had higher hopes for this collection of short stories, because I really loved Ten Little Indians. The duality and complexity that I've found in his other books and short stories was missing for me in this collection. I didn't really laugh or cry and instead, I just felt blah by most of the stories. My two favorites were DISTANCES and INDIAN EDUCATION. It's not like these two stories were the most upbeat or anything, in fact far from it, but they really resonated with me...beautiful prose and great imagery...LOVED THOSE TWO STORIES. Anyway, I still enjoy his writing and will read more of his work, but The Lone Ranger... just didn't really do it for me.

  • Madeline
    2019-03-12 16:44

    Sherman Alexie makes his short stories feel like poems. All very well-written, albeit depressing. Funny at the most inappropriate times, and very entertaining.Three other equally good Alexie novels: Ten Little Indians, Flight, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

  • Wiebke (1book1review)
    2019-02-27 19:31

    I flew through this book and really enjoyed the stories about the reservation and the recurring characters.

  • Steph
    2019-03-18 11:30

    I am so happy I ended the year and met my goal with this book. This has very easily become one of my favorite books ever. There is nothing like reading something that was written with emotion behind it. The last time I read something similar was Just Kids by Patti Smith, but where JK was written with nothing but love, Alexie writes with anger. The emotion is raw and his poetic nature shines right through a short story collection. I loved every single story. I bought this at a used book sale for 2 dollars and I can't believe anyone would give this book up, but I guess I'm glad they did because I loved it. 5/5

  • Jendimmick
    2019-03-25 13:26

    In this compilation of short fiction stories, Sherman Alexie shows the sempiternal hardships and difficulties that Native Americans endure. The Native Americans in this book are located on Spokane Reservation, Washington State. Through the book’s depiction of this multi tribal society, the reader is presented with the conflicts and strife the Spokane people face. Alcoholism and discrimination run rampant in the lives of these Native Americans, who endlessly try to find their identity amidst a nation that wants to take it away. While The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven thoroughly illustrates the difficult lives of those living on the reservation, I did not enjoy the book. The narration is neither clear nor systematic, and the stories are not placed in chronological order. This makes it difficult to follow each character’s sequence of events. Alexie also focuses more on themes and symbols than building a storyline, which sometimes left me wondering about the specificity of each character’s events and actions. While Alexie’s style grants an ample opportunity for profound analysis, it does not yield to an emotional connection with Alexie’s two central characters, Victor and Junior. From beginning to end, these two characters battle with identity, a profound theme in the story. Toward the beginning of the book, Victor moves into Seattle to try and adapt to American society. In the end, he moves back to Spokane Indian Reservation after constantly being judged through stereotypes of a typical Native American. Junior also experiences problems fitting in with society. After having a child out of wedlock with a caucasian in college and being discriminated against by his teacher, he does not know where he belongs. When choosing between school and the reservation, he states, “It’s a matter of choosing my own grave” (242). Victor and Junior struggle to find their identity because they do not fit any societal norm. As a result, they live in perpetual exile. While this book effectively uses these two characters to convey the theme of identity, the lack of plot, action, and structure is my reason for giving it two stars out of five. Unless you want to deeply examine and analyze a book with profuse, opaque content, I suggest you leave this one on the library’s bookshelf. ~ Student: Matthew M.

  • Amy
    2019-03-14 12:42

    It really isn't fair of me to rate or review this book, because it is very clearly not written for me. It's like asking your 100 year old grandmother to review a Metallica concert. Like asking your six year old to review sashimi. Like asking your husband to rate the pain of childbirth. Like asking a white woman to review the stories of a Native American man.The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a collection of short stories about the experiences of various Spokane Indians living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. In many cases the stories don't appear to be very literal. There is quite a poetic element that runs through them, and in my opinion you almost have to be Native American to be able to penetrate the meaning behind Sherman Alexie's words. I can tell that the stories are saying something, and that they have resonance. But the story running through stories isn't for my ears, not for my eyes. I am an outsider to it, and I can't penetrate them to arrive at the deeper meaning or comment.I can't even say for sure whether or not I enjoyed the book. Certainly I enjoyed some of the characters. Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Norma Many Horses, and Victor were all fascinating. Certainly there was depression and passion in the stories. But that's like saying, "I like the cover of that book," but never opening it and reading it, or opening it only to find out it's in a language you can't understand.

  • Terence
    2019-03-08 17:37

    A tepid 3 stars for this collection. A friend at work is an Alexie fan, and when I came across this book for 50 cents at the library, I picked it up. None of the stories were bad, some were quite good, but I never connected with any of them emotionally, and too many felt self-consciously contrived.There were two moments of connection, however, that make me willing to read more Alexie and just pushed this volume into the 3-star range.The first one comes up in "Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at Woodstock," where Alexie writes: "'I guess. Your father just likes being alone more than he likes being with other people. Even me and you.'" (p. 34)The second connection occurred in "Witnesses, Secret and Not": "Anyway, there we were, my father and I, silent as hell while the car fancydanced across the ice. At age thirteen, nobody thinks they're going to die, so that wasn't my worry. But my father was forty-one and that's about the age that I figure a man starts to think about dying. Or starts to accept it as inevitable." (p. 213)

  • Betty Tindle
    2019-03-22 13:39

    I had never read any of his stories until I read this book. I ran through a wide range of emotions while reading his stories about life on the reservation. I laughed, got a small glimpse of the despair they must feel, collectively and individually. I was shocked when reading one of the stories when it said some of those on the rez had never seen a white person. Not that we are "all that", just is not something that would have ever occurred to me in this day and age. I know some people who have never "left their front porch". So I would imagine not ever seeing a white person in this country is not exaggerated. "Witnesses, Secret and Not", is very sad. I cried. Tried to tell a friend about the story and started crying again. If it made me feel such sadness and alienation, I can only imagine a tiny bit of how an Indian might feel. Powerful stories, all of them. Alexis Sherman should be very proud of his storytelling abilities. He is carrying on a centuries old tradition in a most honourable manner. We need to hear more, from him and other Indian authors.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-05 18:24

    I went through different emotions while reading this book. The first time I picked it up I read a few pages and decided I wasn't in the mood to read it. This last time I picked it up I actually thought it was a different book, but read it anyway. It's interesting the way Alexie writes, combining vulgarity with such a poetic voice. The first story made me want to put the book down again, but my brother convinced me to trudge on. The second story had a bit of what I assumed my brother loved about the book, that poetic voice that made the ugliness beautiful.I liked the way this collection of short stories revolved around the same characters. Some stories were written in first person, others in third. I found a few of the stories to be tiresome and a few others very enjoyable. Mostly it made me feel a little sad and wonder if all Indians really are alcoholics. My brother promised a happy ending, but I din't find it to be happy exactly. It was more a kind of contendedness.

  • Alex
    2019-02-25 17:51

    Sherman Alexi definitely has a different style from the basic writer. While not bad, those people who are very uppity about grammar and sentence structure may be put off by it. Although I'm an editor, I found I was able to look past the style since it wasn't over the top and added a certain feel to his work.Possibly one of the funniest pieces in this collection of short stories is "The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor." Although the topic is death, it's light-hearted and amusing and gives a different perspective on living life and laughter.Many of the other stories have less serious topics, but some are more "depressing," possibly because of their realism and the savage reality that life sucks. The book is filled with great "one liners" that are deep, amusing, or just strange. While not my favorite author, he's definitely someone I'll continue to add to my bookshelf.

  • David
    2019-03-07 19:34

    A lightning fast read, and very powerful short stories about what it is to be 'Indian,' and one of the greatest and most tragic collections of short stories I have read (Which is a feat in itself). The prose is breathtaking and so very, very, sorrowful. The lamentations of a decimated, dying, destroyed people robbed of their land, culture, and heritage. I'll most definitely be reading more of his work. If you haven't pondered the spiritual torment of the Native American people, this book can put you in touch with a sliver of their loss; if only because the loss is immeasurable.

  • Jo
    2019-02-28 17:52

    4.5 starsI read the first two of the stories in this collection over several weeks and the rest in two long reading periods. I found that the latter felt the way to read this book as the character of Victor is in almost every story and this feels like snap shots of his life linked together. Many of the other characters also feature all the way through and create the feeling of this tight community of the reservation.My perceptions of ‘Indians’ were mostly uninformed for the first thirty years of my life living in Europe and it was only on moving to the States that I learned about reservation life, the drinking and the poverty. Sherman Alexie writes in the introduction that he has been criticized for portraying reservation life as he does, especially the drinking. Calling the book a ‘thinly disguised memoir’ he at the same time admits, that whenever you are writing about the past, there are necessarily exaggerations, omissions and skewed perspectives. Instead he calls his style ‘reservation realism’ and invites the reader to decide what that is.The realism as Alexie shows it is hard, with government housing and commodity food, alcoholism and abandonment but amongst the harshness there is love and passion, mysticism and tradition. As Alexie is showing us stories of drunk relatives and hunger, of racism and failure, there remains a pride in the culture, in elements like Indian dancing and what this signifies. Every story has some harshness, some empathy, some sadness, some magic, some politics, some history and even some comedy, those small moments of laughter that help us rise above the shit. Of the twenty-four stories my favorites include ‘Amusements’ which was short but hard hitting, ‘Fun House’ and ‘The First Annual All-Indian Horseshoe Pitch and Barbecue’, another short one which is softer and sweeter than some of the others. Another favorite but a longer one is, ‘This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona’ about Victor driving down to Arizona to pick up his father’s ashes accompanied by the storyteller, Thomas Builds-a-Fire. This last one made me want to read a novel by Alexie to see where he goes with the longer form.Many stories look at the difference between what people say and what they mean, the stories we tell to make us feel better or the stories that are told about us that are exaggerated or untrue. He extends this idea to the history of the Native Americans and white man, the secret sterilizations and broken treaties. Sometimes there is repetition, perhaps because these were written over several years, and very rarely you get the sense that was a first time author but most of the time the writing is powerful and heart-wrenching and opens the eyes and heart like all good writing does.One of many beautiful lines;‘A century ago she might have been beautiful, her face reflected in the river instead of a mirror. But all the years have changed more than the shape of our blood and our eyes. We wear fear now like a turquoise choker, like a familiar shawl.’Great sentiment; ‘Years ago homosexuals were given special status within the tribe. They had powerful medicine. I think it’s even more true today, even though our tribe has assimilated into homophobia. I mean, a person has to have magic to assert their identity right without regard to all the bullshit, right?

  • Alyson Dickerman
    2019-03-09 18:48

    Devastating. I loved it.

  • Peter
    2019-03-20 14:46

    Superb. Seeing how Alexie's craft has evolved is a sight to see, and this one was a delight. Why did I wait so long?

  • HBalikov
    2019-03-13 16:53

    Alexie has had a long and illustrious writing career. This book of short stories was written when he was just a "promising" poet. The new edition celebrating its 25th anniversary contains an interview with the author. It is notable for the humor of a man who never expected to be noticed as a writer. The book is an amazing vehicle for Alexie's anger with: clever word-play, humor, mystic imagery, and poignant situations dramatizing the clash of cultures.Selected quotations to give you a sense of Alexie's prose:"They fought each other with the kind of graceful anger that only love can create. Still, their love was passionate, unpredictable, and selfish.""It's hard to be optimistic on the reservation. When a glass sits on a table here, people don't wonder if it's half filled or half empty. They just hope it's good beer.""I thought she was so beautiful. I figured she was the kind of woman who could make buffalo walk on up to her and give up their lives.""I laughed some more, quiet for a second, then laughed a little longer because it was the right thing to do.""While my aunt held her baby close to her chest, the doctor tied her tubes, with the permission slip my aunt signed because the hospital administrator lied and said it proved her Indian status for the BIA.""....I used to sleep with my books in piles all over my bed and sometimes they were the only thing keeping me warm and always the only thing keeping me alive. Books and beer are the best and worst defense."""You know what you should do? You should write a story about something good, a real good story." "Why?" " Because people should know that good things always happen to Indians, too.""""Jimmy," Norma said. "Stop. It's not funny." But I didn't stop. Then or now. Still, you have to realize that laughter saved Norma and me from pain, too. Humor was an antiseptic that cleaned the deepest of personal wounds."

  • Francesca Forrest
    2019-03-19 15:29

    I loved everything about this book. I loved every story. I loved the language, and I loved the tales told in the language. I liked that Alexie makes his magic, his transformations, work on a sentence-by-sentence level, and yet the whole story can be transformational, too. My favorite character is Thomas Builds-the-Fire, hero of the stories "A Drug Called Tradition," "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," and "The Trial of Thomas Builds-the-Fire." He knows when to keep silent and when to speak, and when asked, "You don't really believe that shit?" he says, "Don't need to believe anything. It just is." Amen Thomas, Amen. And there's a very powerful story about Thomas's father in there, too, "A Train Is an Order of Occurrence Designed to Lead to Some Result." But there were other special stories, too: "Imagining the Reservation," which was poetry more than story, or the story of James in "Jesus Christ's Half-Brother Is Alive and Well on the Spokane Indian Reservation," about a guy bringing up a baby, and then child, who fell from a great height in infancy and hit his head and doesn't talk--not at first, anyway. And then there's "A Good Story," where the story and the telling of it weave in themselves--it's a story told because the narrator's mother says, "You know, those stories you tell, they're kind of sad, enit?"--so he tells one that's happy, not sad.So much love in these stories. Sorrow and anger, but most of all love. Great stuff.