American Indian, Book Review, Fiction, Native American, Sherman Alexie

Review: Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

I am fascinated with Native American/Indian literature and cultural history. In this collection of short stories, Alexie does a wonderful job of expressing the pain of the Native past, and the hopelessness of its future, in an unique way. I did find it difficult to stay interested, though, in that the stories were simultaneously connected and disjointed. Most of the characters were present throughout the collection, and each of the stories had something different to tell about life and experiences on the reservation, in the bars, in the HUD home shambles and, perhaps most importantly, on the basketball court. Still, the inability to tell a straight and direct story is perhaps the real dilemma which Alexie is attempting to express. All the characters’ stories are exaggerated – created for the illusions of comfort, power, home, and even health. We find similar methods in the old Irish folk tales and even early American Folklore (i.e. Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, etc.); however, there is something more honest about the Native tales – the magical realism isn’t intended to be believable, yet still manages to be so, somehow. Perhaps because, though the stories themselves are doubtful, the words and thoughts (the spoken and unspoken) express so much – and the heartache, the disaster that was Native American eradication and displacement, cannot possibly be told within the confines of typical “white man” narration. I’m interested to read more Alexie, after this collection. Though it wasn’t my favorite read, it was surely worth the time.

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Arturo Islas, Book Review, Frank Portman, Gay Lit, Hermann Hesse, Jeffery Eugenides, Louise Erdrich, Mexican American, Native American, Orson Scott Card, Science-Fiction

Reviews: The Earlies, Part 8

Tracks by Louise Erdrich

Very interesting story.. sort of a metaphysical native-American type thing. It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember liking it.

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides

To me, this book had an extremely slow start. I was disinterested through the first 400 pages, but I persisted. And thank goodness. The last 150 pages, I believe, made the book the “Pulitzer Prize” winner that it is. It was impressive writing and information throughout, but the extended climax and conclusion are what really made this book worth reading. I wouldn’t have recommended the book three days ago, but today I think it’s a must-read.

Rain God by Arturo Islas

Enjoyable and real. An honest, heart-breaking look at homosexuality and Mexican-American culture. Humor, family, terminal illness, magical realism, terror, brutality, and peace. Wonderful, powerful read.

King Dork by Frank Portman

Very funny. Very good. Read it.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Not just an incredible science-fiction novel, but an incredible novel, period. Masterful story-telling, incredible characterization and plot development. Overwhelming in it’s perfect execution and follow-through.

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Very good book.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I read this book for the first time as an adult (after having seen the Disney movie many times when a child) and find that it is incredibly more complex and important than one could ever imagine. The story is genius, as is Carroll’s creativity with language, prose, and imagination. He is witty, sarcastic, and pleasantly parodic. This has become one of my top-five novels of all time, and not in the “juvenile” category.

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Bart Yates, Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Cooper, Fiction, Gay Lit, Harper Lee, Jack London, Jim Grimsley, Keith Donahue, Lydia Child, Native American

Reviews: The Earlies Part 3

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Great. Book.

The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue

This book took me forever to read. It was just… a lot more boring than it should have been, considering the very interesting subject matter and plot. I think it would make a wild movie, but the book lacks something.

Hobomok by Lydia Maria Francis Child

Pretty interesting and fairly realistic (as opposed to The Last of the Mohicans, say?) depiction of the interaction between puritans and native americans.

Wrong by Dennis Cooper

Wow. Dennis Cooper.

Dream Boy: A Novel by Jim Grimsley

One of the first gay novels I ever read – probably picked it up in 8th or 9th grade. It’s well written, fun, sad, cute, tragic, sexy, and beautiful. I’ve read it 3 or 4 times over the years.

The Brothers Bishop by Bart Yates

Very interesting gay fiction.. two brothers, both gay. One responsible, one not. One a high school english teacher, fallen for a student but able to keep his distance. The other, well, doesn’t keep his distance. And all the fun, drama, and consequence to follow.

Haunted: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Twisted and Bizzare and absolutely wonderful.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Pretty good read. I think I actually enjoyed the movie more, though.

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