Monday, April 14, 2008

Book Review- Ten Little Indians

After having watched and really like the movie, Smoke Signals, which I talked about here, I found out that the movie was based upon a book of short stories by Alexie called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. I read this book and really liked it, I thought I had reviewed it, but I can't find it on this site so I guess not. Anyway, so I then got another of his short stories, Ten Little Indians. Whereas Loner Ranger... takes place pretty much totally on a Spokane Indian reservation outside of Seattle, Ten Little Indians takes place totally off a reservation, but still contains stories about Spokane Indians. Many of the stories take place in and around Seattle. Each story discusses life for Indians especially Spokane Indians in the modern world. The struggles of being an Indian, where you are viewed as basically having to be a representative of all Indians. And all Indians are supposed to have this mystical, pantheistic connection to the world. They are not supposed to have needs and wants, they are all supposed to be a shaman of some sort. These stories are about the reality of living up to being in a minority in your world. There are funny stories, sad stories, and angry stories. The characters are everything from a lawyer to a young woman who is in college and is trying to find her identity to a homeless man. Alexie amazed me as each time I read a story, it was vastly different from the story prior or even any other story in the book. I have found that many authors that I have read who have done short stories, tend to have a similar vantage point, they are male or female in all of the stories, but Alexie has stories from the perspective of both genders, although there may be more stories from a male perspective, but as a male this is probably a more comfortable writing style for him. But all of the stories are in a first person narrative, you never seem to know more than the characters themselves and so you are taking the journey along with the characters. Each story is heartfelt and interesting. I do not rad enough short stories and so this book was a great way for me to really get hooked into that genre. If you are looking for a book that will allow you to see life from another perspective, that of a Spokane Indian and want to laugh, cry and become angry at times as you read, than get this book and enjoy.

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