The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

by Sherman Alexie
4.2 33

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Overview

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie’s critically celebrated first collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven established its author as one of America’s most important and provocative voices. Vividly weaving memory, fantasy, and stark reality to paint a portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian reservation, this book introduces some of Alexie’s most beloved characters who inhabit his distinctive landscape. There is Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the storyteller who no one seems to listen to, and his compatriot—and sometimes not-so-great friend—Victor, the basketball hero who turned into a recovering alcoholic. Now with two new stories and an introduction from Alexie, these twenty-four interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet filled with passion and affection, myth and charm. 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 most poetically, modern Indians and the traditions of the past.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802141675
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 03/28/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author


Alexie is a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. He has won the Pen/Faulkner Award, Stranger Genius Award in Literature, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, and the Malamud Award.

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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
AK95 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Sherman weaves together inter connected stories about the plight of the Native Americans on one particular reservation in the state of Washington. The novel comprises wit and heart wenching testimony from characters like Victor and Thomas about growing up Indian and the poverty they faced. Even though the culture of Native Americans is often mentioned, this book is completley universal. It's at times a coming of age tale, at other points it's historical, and in a few instances, the reader sees magic. The prose is brillantly composed in a manner that will quickly engage the reader. If you love short stories, then you will love this. If you hate short stories, this will take some getting use to but you'll quickly see the payoff. Also, the last two stories included in the collection make the overall novel all the more poignant.
Lisa_RR_H More than 1 year ago
I feel a bit mixed about this book, which is a collection of 22 connected short stories, some in first and some in third person. The book was on a list of recommended literary fiction. Picking it up, I realized that though I've read many a book by African Americans, several assigned in school, I couldn't recall ever reading a work of fiction by a Native American about Native Americans. I found myself jotting down the unfamiliar or recurring words and themes, wanting to learn more later: frybread, salmon, commodity cheese, alcoholism, diabetes, sweathouse, longhouse, HUD, fancydancing, owldancing, basketball, powwow, tipi, braids, ribbon shirt, five hundred years. That glimpse into another world, the world of the Spokane Indian Reservation, is a lot of what kept me reading, but I wondered at times when Alexie was giving us a look behind the stereotypes or playing with them. Especially given the touches of magical realism, I found myself wishing at times this was straight memoir and not (as admitted in the introduction) autobiographically inspired fiction. This is a very bleak book--so much of it dealt with drunkenness and alcoholism and the self-destructive behavior it engenders, sprinkled with historical grievance and the experience of present-day bigotry and a terrible poverty. The most upbeat tale in the book revolved around a terminally ill cancer patient: "The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor." Two of the other standouts for me were "Fun House," about a women who finally has had it with the behavior of her husband and son, and "Indian Education." Here's a quote from that story that stuck with me: "The farm town high school I play for is nicknamed the "Indians," and I'm probably the only actual Indian ever to play for a team with such a mascot. This morning I pick up the sports page and read the headline: INDIANS LOSE AGAIN. Go ahead and tell me none of this is supposed to hurt me very much." I think that's a passage that captures a lot about the book. Clean, spare style, sometimes lyrical, spiked with a dark humor. I find myself dithering about the rating here. I don't know if it's a book that I can say I enjoyed, or one where the individual stories impressed--I think it's one where the whole is more than its parts, but the repeated (and repetitive) notes of hopelessness ground me down. However, the book did make me think and a time or two broke my heart a little, and I think it'll stay with me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The impulse to soldier on is both ruthlessly crushed and highly encouraged on the Spokane reservation. Victor and Thomas represent the stark contrast between relentless destruction and toughened hopefulness of the human spirit. The struggle to hold onto some loose foothold in their past as they pursue their blank futures littered with broken dreams, alcohol, and introspective dreaming. Sherman Alexie¿s Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is both written as a literary novel, and interwoven poetry pounding to the beat of tribal drums and chorusing lines of `John Wayne¿s Teeth.¿ It is hard to tell when the author is being melodramatic, or when a joke, so dry and intensely real, has escaped my attention. It is hard to tell what is meant to be funny and what is meant to rent the soul. I found myself laughing when I should have been crying. Overall, there is no moment greater than Thomas¿s grandstand as the great storyteller of the reservation. Though his stories have been told a thousand times, he has now withdrawn from his silence and returned to his creative genius. He represents part of the character of the novelist in that he wishes to return to a broken, shifting past in order to escape the hypocrisy of his present. Victor represents the other side of the jaded coin. He is angry, thoughtless, and acts out because he feels lost within himself and his environment. He represents the inability of the Native Americans to feel at home in what should have been their country, and the toughness they must exhibit to make it bearable. The two opposing viewpoints are only supported by a slew of characters with which these vivid people are described. When I reflected on the book I was surprised by the sense of detachment I felt. The wicked humor of the writer in his highway weatherman, road trips to phoenix, and flatbread crisis was what made the book bearable when the characters were drowning in their own irony.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alexie's characters are not just native, they are human. So few literary images of the Indian-(Feather, not dot)-Native-American-Indigineous-Person-Noble-Savage portray the depth of character and individuality he does so adeptly. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you may even UNDERSTAND. So what's so funny about peace, love and understanding? In this collection of stories you may find out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This really brought me back home in some distubing yet amusing way. Nice change from the very hard to read reality books that I have read. Anyone that have lived on a rez can relate and laught, and truly understand the way of life on the rez with a twist that Alexie is portraying. It was a really fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I would highly recommend it for use in courses studying Native American literature and cultures, as well as for anyone interested in Native American literature and cultures. The book lends itself well to further exploration of issues that Native Americans are facing today as well as analysis of recurring themes in Native American literature. In this book the issues that Alexie highlights are those such as poverty, alcoholism, and health issues, just to name a few; the recurring themes he speaks to are those such as land, memory, humor, assimilation, kinship, spirituality, alcoholism, and feminism. I would also recommend this book because of its shifting perspectives, which allow for a more comprehensive look at the Spokane Reservation. The shifting perspectives also demonstrate that while the characters might have similar trials and tribulations to face, they deal with them differently, that they are separate individuals, and it shows that people have different views of the world around them. It gives each person a distinct identity and prevents all Native Americans from being viewed as one stereotypical person, or culture. And finally, I would recommend this book because of its credibility in speaking to these issues and themes. Alexie has a strong ethos as both an author and in his heritage. Overall, I would highly recommend this book, both for classroom use and for reading for pleasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book had funny and good metaphors and its just like me.
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AlainaBrown More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book. I admit I was skeptical at first when my teacher gave it to us to read. I think it was the title that made me feel that way, but once I started reading I got lost in the raw stories. I couldn't put it down! There's only one draw back; it can get a bit confusing because you never know who's speaking and each "chapter" is a new story. It will keep you entertained.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first of Sherman Alexie¿s books that I¿ve read, and admittedly, it was the title that first drew my attention to this book. After all, who can resist at least leafing through a novel with a title like The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven? Reading the book, I was impressed by Alexie¿s writing style and how he mixes poetic sentences like ¿Tonight the mirror will forgive my face¿ with not-so-poetic phrases, such as, ¿ `Shit,¿ Samuel said. It was quickly his favorite word.¿ But what struck me the most about this novel was its characters. Every single person in this book is ordinary. In the world Alexie describes, there are no heroes, no great leaders, no charismatic protagonists. Everyone in these stories is flawed in some way, and these flaws usually are not overcome by the end of the story, as much as the reader would like to see the character triumph over his or her shortcomings. But that¿s what makes the characters real¿their many imperfections and mistakes. And, like real life, there is no happy ending to Alexie¿s novel. Life starts out a certain way in each story, and by the end, not much has changed. But there is a hope for change, buried somewhere beneath the lost dreams and beer bottles that litter the pages of the novel. And it¿s this concealed hope that makes Sherman Alexie¿s book such an incredible read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read by Alexie and the first book on Native Americans, period. It's a hilarious short story collection about Indians and their struggle to survive in a world that has forgotten them. Alcoholism, broken marriages, abandoned kids, and a government that just doesn't care--these stories about reservation life are extremely funny but also heartbreaking. Alexie has a gift for finding humor in the absurd and sometimes hopeless situations in which Indians find themselves. Start with this collection, then move onto Reservation Blues, which has some of the same characters in it. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a fresh collection of fond memories that swirl and eddy leaving traces of sunlight dancing lightly upon the page. This incredibly talented writer artfully rips away any protection you may have against the printed word, lays your heart bare, and leaves you wanting more. This book is a hauntingly stark look at life among friends and family with stories of characters who shamelessly flaunt their humanity on parade page after page with no regrets, plenty of laughs, and taking no prisoners except the reader's heart. Once you have read this book, you will want to read more of Sherman Alexie's work, and, fortunately, it is in abundance as he is a prolific author of the most contemporary persuasion. If there is one book that must be read, it is this one. You will find yourself laughing out loud, relating, and reading these stories again. This work is a crowning jewel of literary accomplishment. Sherman Alexie makes words sit up, roll over, and beg to be read. He has taught them tricks that will astound and amaze you.