Of all the books I bought for college classes, this is one of only a handful I held onto. A collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven follows a group of Spokane Indians living on and off the reservation.
Because it’s his book and he can do whatever he wants, the stories shift and change and don’t necessarily follow time or space in a linear sense. The stories range from reality to fantasy with everything in between. My favorite is “Imagining the Reservation,” but it’s hard to pick a favorite when each story is completely unique. One thing is certain: reading Alexie’s prose makes me realize what a terrible writer I am, and it makes me strive to dig deeper when I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were).
“Imagine a loaf of bread could feed the entire tribe. Didn’t you know Jesus Christ was a Spokane Indian? Imagine Columbus landed in 1492 and some tribe or another drowned him in the ocean. Would Lester FallsApart still be shoplifting in the 7-11?” (From “Imagining the Reservation”)
If you let it, this book will tear out your soul and put it on a salmon-shaped platter for you to examine in a completely new way.
A stack of books a couple feet high prompted me to start a book project to read all the ones I’ve acquired by haven’t read yet and also to reread a few favorites.