The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, by Sherman Alexie

A most unusual book selection for our men's book club. Twenty-two individual stories, linked loosely or a bit more, interact to form a portrait of Native Americans living on the reservation, or not. Frankly after the first two or three, I was wondering if my record of reading each book club selection in its entirety was going to be broken, but I stuck with it and found my star rating increasing from a "1" to a "3."

The author has written twenty-two books. Wow! Perhaps it's puerile and baseless for me to criticize a writer who has over twenty books to his credit. I did get the overall conclusion that the Native American community must feel a terrible burden to either be disappearing into a majority amalgam of an increasingly diverse culture or left alone in an isolated community that is distant, not understood, and ignored with its young people leaving home.

The titles of Alexie's works, ranging from a few pages to the mid-teens are strange in that some seem obvious from the storyline, while other titles are not connected at all, at least to this reader. In fact, the book's title seems to be pulled at random from one of the stories, which tries to capture the sense of living in a large city, shopping at a 7-11 in the middle of the night, moving back to the reservation, playing basketball seriously in the "house leagues," and an off-on relationship with a girlfriend. The stories are connected, sometimes strongly and often loosely

Alexie's writing is brilliant, spacey, connected with difficult-to-follow themes, and different. This was a startlingly different selection. I look forward to our discussion and am writing this before being told that I missed the real meaning.

Jim George

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