Review: Nothing is sacred to Sherman Alexie
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"Sherman Alexie has never been one to view the world in terms of red and white. The 36-year-old member of the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene tribe, who grew up on a reservation in eastern Washington, has coined the phrase, "the business of fancydancing" to suggest what happens along the racial dividing line between Indian and mainstream America. It's the title of his first published book of poems, and (although an entirely different work) the name of the first movie he wrote and directed. It's also a moniker that would fit well on the cover of his career manual, should he ever decide to write one.

Because depictions of Indian culture are so often freighted in spiritual claptrap (ancient wisdom for the New Age), it is tempting to say that Alexie is refreshing because he writes as if nothing is sacred. Indeed, he can skewer political correctness by equating life on the rez with poor, white-trash neighborhoods in a pitiless paragraph. But he is also capable of wearing his heart on his sleeve while unpacking the hoariest "drunken Indian" stereotype. That happens in "What You Pawn I Shall Redeem," a tale about a homeless man who relies on the kindness of others to buy the pow-wow regalia he discovers in a pawnshop that were stolen from his grandmother 50 years ago."

Get the Story:
Review: Native Son (The Minneapolis City Pages 6/18)

Relevant Links:
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Review: Sherman Alexie's 'Ten Little Indians' (05/27)
Review: Sherman Alexie on being brown after 9-11 (05/06)
Sherman Alexie Story: What You Pawn I Will Redeem (04/21)
Sherman Alexie: A Native perspective on war (03/04)
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