Information about the author.
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
With unparalleled insight into the minds of artists, laborers, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change. In a bicoastal journey through the consequences of both simple and monumental life choices, Alexie introduces us to personal worlds as they transform beyond return. In the title story, a famous writer must decide how to care for his distant father who is slowly dying a “natural Indian death” from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor. Alexie dissects a vintage-clothing store owner’s failing marriage and his courtship of a married photographer in various airports across the country; what happens when a politician’s son commits a hate crime; and how a young boy discovers his self-worth while writing obituaries for his local newspaper.
Brazen and wise War Dances takes us to the heart of what it means to be human. The new beginnings, successes, mistakes, and regrets that make up our daily lives are laid bare in this wide-ranging new work that is quintessential Alexie.
Sherman Alexie is one of today’s most captivating and popular writers—The Nation has called him “a master of language, writing beautifully, unsparingly, and straight to the heart.” Now with Ten Little Indians he offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heart-rending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love.
What kind of Indian loses her mind over a book of poems? Well, Corliss was that kind of Indian, she was exactly that kind of Indian, and it was the only kind of Indian she knew how to be. In Alexie’s first story, “The Search Engine,” Corliss is a rugged and resourceful student who finds in books the magic she was denied while growing up poor. When she discovers the poetry…[more]
In these stories we meet the kind of American Indians we rarely see in literature—the upper and middle class, the professionals and white-collar workers, the bureaucrats and poets, falling in and out of love and wondering if they will make their way home. A Spokane Indian journalist transplanted from the reservation to the city picks up a hitchhiker, a Lummi boxer looking to take on the toughest Indian in the world. A Spokane son waits for his diabetic father to return from the hospital, listening to his father’s friends argue about Jesus’ carpentry skills as they build a wheelchair ramp. An estranged interracial couple, separated in the midst of a traffic accident, rediscover their love for each other. A white drifter holds up an International House of Pancakes, demanding a dollar per customer and someone to love, and emerges with $42 and an overweight Indian he dubs Salmon Boy.
Sherman Alexie’s is a voice of remarkable passion, and these stories are love stories—between parents and children, white people and Indians, movie stars and ordinary people. Witty, tender, and fierce, The Toughest Indian in the World is a virtuoso performance by one of the country’s finest writers.
In 1931, Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil, receiving legendary blues skills in return. He went on to record only twenty-nine songs before being murdered on August 16, 1938. In 1992, however, Johnson suddenly reappears on the Spokane Indian Reservation and meets Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the misfit storyteller of the Spokane Tribe. When Johnson passes his enchanted instrument to Thomas—lead singer of the rock-and-roll band Coyote Springs—a magical odyssey begins that will take the band from reservation bars to small-town taverns, from the cement trails of Seattle to the concrete canyons of Manhattan.
Sherman Alexie imaginatively mixes narrative, newspaper excerpts, songs, journal entries, visions, radio interviews, and dreams to explore the effects of Christianity on Native Americans in the late twentieth century. In addition, he examines the impact of cultural assimilation on the relationships between Indian women and Indian men. Reservation Blues is a painful, humorous, and ultimately redemptive symphony about God and indifference, faith and alcoholism, family and hunger, sex and death.