The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

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Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993 - Fiction - 223 pages
41 Reviews
In this darkly comic short story collection, Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. These twenty-two interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with passion and affection, myth and dream. There is Victor, who as a nine-year-old crawled between his unconscious parents hoping that the alcohol seeping through their skins might help him sleep, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who tells his stories long after people stop listening, and Jimmy Many Horses, dying of cancer, who writes letters on stationary that reads "From the Death Bed of Jimmy Many Horses III," even though he actually writes then on his kitchen table. Against a backdrop of alcohol, car accidents, laughter, and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, men and women, and mostly poetically between modern Indians and the traditions of the past.

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User Review  - RandyMetcalfe - LibraryThing

The tone of these twenty-four stories is so consistent, with characters appearing in multiple stories, that it reads more like one long story with the protagonist switching from one character to ... Read full review

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User Review  - JasonBrownPDX - LibraryThing

Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spoke Indian Reservation in Wellpinit Washington, near Spokane. He has written nearly 20 books of fiction, poetry, short stories, and has had a couple films made based on ... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

Sherman J. Alexie Jr. was born on October 7, 1966. His mother was Spokane Indian and his father was Coeur d'Alene Indian. Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. He decided to attend high school off the reservation where he knew he would get a better education. He was the only Indian at the school, and excelled academically as well as in sports. After high school, he attended Gonzaga University for two years before transferring to Washington State University, where he graduated with a degree in American studies. He received the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship in 1991 and the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1992. His collections of poetry included The Business of Fancydancing, First Indian on the Moon, The Summer of Black Widows, One Stick Song, and Face. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, received a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. His other short story collections included The Toughest Indian in the World, Ten Little Indians, and War Dances. His first novel, Reservation Blues, received the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award and the Murray Morgan Prize. His other novels included Indian Killer, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Flight. He won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction in 2018 for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir. Alexie and Jim Boyd, a Colville Indian, collaborated on the album Reservation Blues, which contains the songs from the book of the same name. In 1997, Alexie collaborated with Chris Eyre, a Cheyenne/Arapaho Indian, on a film project inspired by Alexie's work, This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona, from the short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Smoke Signals debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1998, winning two awards: the Audience Award and the Filmmakers Trophy. In 1999 the film received a Christopher Award.

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