9780802117441

Ten Little Indians

Alexie, Sherman

ISBN 10: 0802117449 / 0-8021-1744-9
ISBN 13: 9780802117441
Publisher: The Grove Press
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
Ten Little Indians offers eleven poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love. In "The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above," an intellectual feminist Spokane Indian woman saves the lives of dozens of white women all around her, to the bewilderment of her only child, now a grown man who looks back at his life with equal parts fondness, amusement, and regret. In "Do You Know Where I Am?" two college sweethearts rescue a lost cat -- a simple act that has profound moral consequences for the rest of their lives together. In "What You Pawn I Will Redeem," a homeless Indian man must raise $1,000 in twenty-four hours to buy back the fancy dance outfit stolen from his grandmother fifty years earlier. Sherman Alexie's stories are driven by a haunting lyricism and naked candor that cut to the heart of the human experience, shedding brilliant light on what happens when we grow into and out of each other.

Review:
Sherman Alexie, a gifted poet and storyteller, plows familiar yet fertile ground in his third collection of short stories, Ten Little Indians. The book contains nine stories populated by at least one American Indian (usually of Alexie's Spokane heritage, and mostly living in Seattle), but "little" is a bit of a misnomer; the book addresses human (not necessarily Indian), rituals, ceremony, love, loss, insecurity over life choices, and personal sacrifices. A lot of intense basketball is played, too.

When Alexie is at his best, his stories function at a profoundly sad level, where broken down characters are broken down even more, but are fierce-willed enough to attempt Phoenix-like transitions. Unfortunately, the weakest stories appear first, where characters and situations seem far too contrived or forced, the dialogue wooden, and questions or exclamatory sentences appear annoyingly in bunches. In the last half of the book, a married couple, once intensely in love but now lost in life's routines, deal with infidelity ("Do You Know Where I Am?"); a bright basketball prospect attempts a comeback--twenty years after giving up the game ("Whatever Happened to Frank Snake Church?"); and a transient Indian finds his grandmother's regalia in a pawn shop and seeks to quickly raise the lofty purchase price ("What You Pawn I Will Redeem"). Brilliant turns of phrase abound, such as ceremonies being "pitiful cries to a disinterested God," or when a gym rat plays against "Basketball-Democrats who came to the court alone and ran with anybody and Basketball-Republicans who traveled in groups of five and only ran with each other." Ten Little Indians is an uneven collection, but contains some significant, memorable stories. --Michael Ferch

Review

 

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TEN LITTLE INDIANS (ISBN: 0802117449 / 0-8021-1744-9)
Alexie, Sherman
ISBN 10: 0802117449
ISBN 13: 9780802117441
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Book Description: The Grove Press, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition; First Printing. New unread hardback in dust jacket stated: First Edition, complete number line. 243 pages, unmarked. Unclipped dust jacket, New. ; A Fic; 0.9 x 8.3 x 5.6 Inches; 243 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 30599

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Alexie, Sherman
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Book Description: Grove Press, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. First Edition. 5.75x8.5. Nine short stories feature Native American characters in modern America. They face personal and cultural issues all too similar to the rest of us. 243 pages. Published @ $24.00. Bookseller Inventory # 11701

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Book Description: Grove Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # 004521

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