Wednesday, March 6, 2013

War Dances-Alexie Sherman

War Dances-Alexie Sherman

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 357
gender: M
nationality: USA, Spokane
year: 2009
Short Story Collection

"Sherman Alexie delivers a virtuoso collection of tender, witty, and soulful stories that expertly capture modern relationships from the most diverse angles. War Dances brims with Alexie’s poetic and revolutionary prose, and reminds us once again why he ranks as one of our country’s finest writers. With bright insight into the minds of artists, entrepreneurs, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with average men on the brink of exceptional change: In the title story, a son recalls his father’s “natural Indian death” from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor; “The Ballad of Paul Nonetheless,” dissects a vintage clothing store owner’s failing marriage and courtship of a Puma-clad stranger in airports across the country; and “Breaking and Entering” recounts a film editor’s fateful confrontation with an thieving adolescent. Brazen and wise War Dances takes us to the heart of what it means to be human. The new beginnings, successes, mistakes, and regrets that make up our daily lives are laid bare in this wide-ranging new work that is quintessential"

I usually don't like to review short story collections. Too often there were stories I loved and stories I didn't really like and too little really binding it all together and too often I'm not even sure I could recommend it to others. War Dances is an exception.

A lovely collection full of nostalgia for mix tapes, reasonable references to Native American culture, interspersed with strong, tough poetry that makes me want to read more of his poetry. Always a good sign.

His characters are all in crisis but then they find a small symbol of some kind that lifts them out of this situation. The symbols give them strength. The bits and pieces of wit are awesome. One story has a boy's school that shares accommodation with a convent taking to shouting “get thee to a nunnery!” at each other. The wit breaks up the “tragedy of an alcoholic Indian father jukebox” style that so characterizes Alexie's writing.

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