by Sherman Alexie
Hardcover, 480 pages
In this collection of thirty one short stories about Native Americans, Alexie, a Native himself, shows his genius as he brings characters and scenarios to life. They penetrate and expose the essence of the grief and shame that haunts the Native cultures across the U.S. - the result of genocide, persistent discrimination and neglect. It would be easy to dismiss Alexie as a profane cynic, a glib comedian, but that is exactly the problem as we continue to ignore the profound yearning for purpose this indigenous community is desperately yearning to achieve. In crisp prose, with a strident voice, much like a traditional storyteller, Alexie paints a mosaic infused with complicated visions, age old wisdom, modern dissonance, and sweet sentimentality. The stories are masterful with powerful imagery, stark frankness and ingenious metaphors. One of the metaphors that threads its way through many of the stories is the game of basketball. Read the book and see if you can figure it out - why basketball?