“In [Alexie’s] warm, revealing, invitingly roundabout stories, the central figures come in all shapes and sizes, sharing only their wry perspective on Indian life off the reservation. . . . They are affectionate tales of dealings between men and women.”Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Alexie’s Ten Little Indians serves up nine seamless stories formed in the gut and delivered from the heart, depicting Native Americans caught in contemporary cultural crosshairs.”Lauren Slater, Elle
“Alexie has always been a master of the short story. . . . In [Ten Little Indians]Alexie blends humor, biting sarcasm and emotion, varying the book’s mood and presenting a spectrum of voices.”Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
“This is a stellar collection of full-hearted, energetic stories.” Arion Berger, People Magazine
“With wicked humor and a piercing eye, Alexie dances liehely across America’s racial and historical divides. Not since Langston Hughes’s classic collection The Ways of White Folks have these rifts been so wonderfully minded as they are in Ten Little Indians. . . . This is an inspired collection . . . told with a bittersweet and irrepressible touch. . . . Alexie, like his characters, is on a modern-day vsion quest, and his powers are only getting stronger.” Anderson Tepper, Time Out New York
“Alexie’s language has energy; his dialogue is both sharp and believable. His characters are ordinary people, extraordinary in their own unique ways.” Karen Joy Fowler, The Washington Post Book World
“The stories are wide, expansive, and focus on the lives of Spokane Indians inside Seattle for the most part, many of whom are aspiring to nothing less than greatness. . . . The haunting and powerful fictions of Ten Little Indians deserve to be read, contemplated, and savored.” William J. Cobb, The Houston Chronicle
“[Alexie’s] stories, rambunctious and exuberant, bristle with an edgy and mordant humor all his own.” Robin Hemley, The Chicago Tribune
“The subjects of these nine stories are passionate in their odd pursuits. Alexie, who wrote the 1998 film Smoke Signals, is an established chronicler of the rituals and ruptures of modern Native American life, but his eye for hard truths transcends any ethnic pigeonholing.” Emily Mead, Entertainment Weekly
“Ten Little Indians deals with a lot of things nobody talks about, from the always loaded subject of cultural authenticity to the influence of politics on everyday life.” David L. Ulin, The Los Angeles Times
“Alexie paints a full range of human emotions and conditions on a canvas he knows well. . . . Alexie’s nine little worlds contain a quietly glorious literary excellence; each is as pleasing to the mind and the heartand even the sensesas witnessing the perfection of nature. . . . Neither precious nor academic, Ten Little Indians is a must-read for anyone who desires searing, sad, funny and modern tales of American Indian culture, for readers who love beautifully crafted short fiction and for readers who appreciate both.” Scott Lax, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“This humor-laced passel of tales is [Alexie’s] best in years. . . . Read and enjoy Alexie’s skill at crafting characters.” Sharyn Wizda Vane, The Austin American-Statesman
“Sherman Alexie’s nine well-received stories about American Indian protagonists are energized by the tension between traditional ways and life off the reservation, by trying to decide what to carry and what can be left behind yet still remain oneself in a shifting world.” Dallas Morning News
“Sherman Alexie’s new collection of stories, Ten Little Indians, proves once again that he is an absolutely fearless writer.” Jenny Shank, Rocky Mountain News
“The nine stories in Ten Little Indians
are poignant without being sentimental, witty without being brittle, and written with force and clarity. They’re funny, too.” Diane Roberts, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Kindness is as much a theme in Ten Little Indians as its city settings and its humor in the face of tragedy. Alexie treats both Spokane and non-Spokane characters with extraordinary measures of kindness. Characters are redeemed or not redeemed but always treated with generosity. Despite the sadness achingly present in these stories, the reader is left with a sense of healing and hope.” Karen M. Poremski, The Columbus Dispatch
“This balance between poetic desire and the hopeless harshness of life is what makes Alexie’s work unique. That painful process of reclaiming something good, something of the spirit, something intensely personal, told with humor and no false sentiment, runs through much of this fine collection.” Richard Wallace, The Seattle Times
“Alexie is having such a good time, we can have one too.” Michael Harris, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Alexie’s literary voice is distinctive, idiosyncratic, and disarmingly compelling. . . . What unites [the characters] is their deeply conflicted sensibility; perceptive about many things, but often clueless about their own motives; cynical about the world and their place in it but often sentimental and deeply emotional; outraged by the discrimination and damage inflicted on them, but caustically and brutally frank about their own failings and shortcomings as a culture. . . .This is a wonderful book that could have been written only by Sherman Alexie.” Steve Brzezinski, The Antioch Review
“Ten Little Indians once again shows [Alexie] to be not just one of the West’s best, but one of the most brilliantly literate American writers, even funnier than Louise Erdrich, even more primal than Jim Harrison, and even more eloquent than Annie Proulx.” Ron Franscell, Chicago Sun-Times
“The strength of this book lies in the characters. Alexie writes them with such compassion that even if they abandon their children, it becomes understandable.” Jessa Crispin, The Austin Chronicle
“[Alexie] is a provocateur who never left a pot unstirred. He’s a trickster not above mocking himself. He’s a proud Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian who is just as likely to skewer Indians as he is totem-loving liberals and Yale-educated conservatives. And he’s a bestselling author who knows exactly how far to push the sensibilities of his gentle readers.
Alexie ranks with the best, even if he stands alone.” Ron Franscell, San Jose Mercury News
“Ten Little Indians runs the gamut of human emotions, from grief to envy, rage to shame, conjuring a cast of Indians so rich and so vibrant it makes the old nursery rhyme seem not just puerile but racist.” John Freeman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“[Alexie] loves to make people laugh. And cry. He loves to make people uncomfortable. He loves to make them think. Sherman Alexie is a storyteller. . . . These are not tepid tales. Alexie’s terrain is peopled with Indians who are angry and funny and poignant, vengeful, despondent, exuberant and forgiving, smart and wry and hopeful.” Jane Hoback, The Rocky Mountain News
“This near-perfect fiction collection is dense with humor, action and affecting characters.” Time Out New York
“Alexie’s powers of characterization are extraordinary and his stories packed thick with details, yet everything flows effortlessly. . . . As he did in The Toughest Indian in the World, Alexie proves that in this literary kingdom it is indeed a fine day to be indigenous.” Emiliana Sandoval, The Detroit Free Press
“A brisk, capable assemblage.” Ariel Gonzalez, The Miami Herald
“Alexie delivers nine more short stories that easily live up to the rest of his acclaimed canon.” Thomas Haley, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“A short story collection you’ll enjoy very much.” Henry Kisor, The Chicago Sun-Times
“Alexie isn’t only a top-notch writer, he is also a cultural star. . . . All nine [stories] are insightful and original.” Jim Grinnell, The Bloomsbury Review
“These stories are about truth, and Alexie is a writer in relentless pursuit of truth.
Alexie’s characters have an articulateness, a longing for better lives and a willingness to bare their souls that is heart-wrenching and beautiful.” Tricia Snell, The Oregonian
“What links the characters [in these stories] is their need to understand, to divine meaning, and to find truth. In that way they are not unlike non-Indians.
Their ruminations conveniently (and perhaps, appropriately) echo Alexie’s own keen observations of contemporary American society.
Alexie’s observations are as wise as they are brutally sharp.” Greg Morago, The Harford Courant
“A collection of nine hilarious, powerful stories that capture not just the Native American experience, but a broader, more universal one. . . . Powerful, sad and laugh-out-loud funny, these stories could only be told by Sherman Alexie.” Jean Blish Siers, The Charlotte Observer
“Most of the central characters in these stories are, like Alexie, Spokane Indians, and there’s a ruthlessness to the way he describes them that can only be rooted in memory and a prickly sort of love.” Anne Stephenson, The Arizona Republic
“Alexie dispels stereotypes that continue to pervade film and literature.” Chrissy Persico, New York Daily News
My favorite kind of fiction is the kind that manages to be simultaneously smart, funny and sad. In Ten Little Indians, Sherman Alexie has produced nine stories of just this sort. Each has moments of wisdom. Each has moments of hilarity. Each carries us through moments of sadness. — Karen Joy Fowler
Fluent, exuberant and supremely confident, this outstanding collection shows Alexie (The Toughest Indian in the World, etc.) at the height of his powers. Humor plays a leading role in the volume's nine stories, but it's love, both romantic and familial, that is the lens through which Alexie examines his compelling characters. His range stretches from the strange to the poignantly antic. In "Can I Get a Witness" an Indian woman is caught inside a restaurant when a suicide bomber blows himself up; in "Do Not Go Gentle" a father buys a vibrator dubbed "Chocolate Thunder" and uses it as a spiritual talisman to successfully bring his seriously injured baby out of a coma. In one of the book's finest stories, "The Search Engine," Corliss Joseph, an intrepid 19-year-old Spokane Indian college student, finds an obscure 1973 volume of Indian poetry and tracks down the author, an aging forklift operator with painful memories of his foray into the literary world. Basketball looms large in a number of these stories, from the thoughtful "Lawyer's League" to the superb final entry, "What Ever Happened to Frank Snake Church?" Loose, jaunty and salted with long, hilarious, inspired riffs-"What kind of life had she created for herself? She was a laboratory mouse lost in the capitalistic maze. She was an underpaid cow paying one-tenth mortgage on a three-bedroom, two-bath abattoir"-these are still cohesive, powerful narratives, expanding on Alexie's continuing theme of what it means to be an Indian culturally, politically and personally. This is a slam dunk collection sure to score with readers everywhere. (June) Forecast: Few short-story collections have the potential to sell like this one. Alexie's ever-growing readership, plus strong backing from Grove-including a 125,000 first printing, $100,000 promo budget and an 18-city author tour-is likely to land this stellar volume on many bestseller lists. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Alexie's stories focus primarily on Indians (rarely "Native Americans") living in this country today, but in no way does that make his fiction totemic. Instead, Alexie's compassion for his characters, directness in storytelling, and wry and cautiously optimistic worldview transcend any label-in many ways, the 11 stories in this collection are everyone's stories. Alexie skillfully glances back at the provincial Indian life already explored in his previous work-in "The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above," for instance, whose Spokane narrator reflects on growing up with a nonconformist mother. But his strength lies in the exploration of contemporary issues, as in "Lawyer's League," in which an ambitious political intern imagines the damage to his career when a pickup basketball game turns into a fist fight, or "Can I Get a Witness?" in which the aftermath of a restaurant bombing results in some joint soul searching by two strangers who have a brief but revelatory encounter. The stories sometimes feel loose and ragged, but Alexie has the ability (and heart) to make even a brief, patchy sketch of a few choice moments resonate and move the reader. Recommended.-Marc Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Nine extraordinary short stories set in and around the Seattle area, featuring Spokane Indians from all walks of urban life. In "The Search Engine," a student of English poetry stumbles upon a book of poems by another member of her tribe and goes on a vision quest to find him. But no brief description does justice to the rich complexity of this story or the others; adjectives such as incisive, ironic, emotional, political, tragic, triumphant, angry, loving, exuberant, and wise come to mind, and Alexie puts everything together in a deceptively casual, often dazzling way. In bursts of exposition, using colloquial language and uncensored thoughts, he creates characters so richly layered and situations so colorfully detailed that readers finish each tale with a feeling of having encountered a real person or event. They include a woman caught in a terrorist attack; a homeless, alcoholic man on a quest to recapture his grandmother's lost regalia; a lawyer who pays too high a cost for being too focused on his ambition; and a feminist mother, as remembered by her adult son. Woven throughout are themes that satirize Native American images, such as the great storyteller and the spiritual master; yet even as the characters are self-deprecating about these stereotypes, Alexie slyly, in unexpected ways, ultimately demonstrates their truth. Those familiar with this author's earlier work will find his charm, originality, and sheer humanity in full measure here.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Alienation, second-class citizenship, and revivifying pride in family and heritage-these are the recurring themes in the popular author's third collection (The Toughest Indian in the World, 2000, etc.). Several of the characters in these nine stories are "Native American gentry": upwardly mobile western US Indians (most of them members of the Spokane tribe of Washington State) who've moved uneasily into the white world-like the half-black, half-Spokane bureaucrat who finds the old prejudices awaiting him in a "Lawyer's League" basketball game; or the middle-class Seattle salesman whose sense of security and accomplishment is disturbed by a conversation with an Ethiopian immigrant cabdriver. Alexie's penchant for oddball premises and bizarre narrative twists can misfire, as in a rambling tale about a woman paralegal who survives a terrorist suicide bombing and the planned seduction of her Indian rescuer ("Can I Get a Witness ?"); or lapse into comic monologue, as in an adult son's mixed memories of growing up with his energetic social-activist single mom ("The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above"). But the volume contains three marvelous tales: "The Search Engine," about an intellectually voracious Spokane college girl's pursuit of a long-inactive Native American poet, casts a bleakly illuminating spotlight on the complexities and disillusionments of the examined life; "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" is an irresistible picaresque in which a homeless Spokane, discovering his late grandmother's fancy-dancing costume (her "powwow regalia") in a pawnshop window, undertakes a mock-epic "quest" to reclaim the outfit ("I want to be a hero, . . . I want to win it back like a knight"). Even betteris "What Ever Happened to Frank Snake Church ?," about a middle-aged former basketball star who honors the memories of his dead parents by rededicating himself to the game of his youth. Comedy, pathos, heartfelt characterizations, and agendas transformed into thoughtful narratives: Alexie's strongest book in years. First printing of 125,000; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour