|WTF German edition cover|
So yeah, I'm kind of a fan: loved Toughest Indian in the World, too.
Sherman Alexie has a knack for moving along the action in his fiction: Indian Killer is fast, and you meet a lot of characters in a small space. Published in 1996, it's basically a murder mystery with depth, genre fiction that proves the ridiculousness of using the term "genre fiction" as a putdown. Characters keep getting excluded, and whether or not they deserve shunning, it's painful every time, even when you find yourself pushed to laugh. It's funny, Indian Killer, which might be a surprise if you started the book hearing only about the violence, the urban poverty, and the intensely colonialist oppression that shapes the lives of Alexie's Indian characters. All that stuff's there, but ....
An example. Aaron Rogers is a young man involved in the random, extreme beating of Indians in downtown Seattle, and at one point he gets some advice from his father -- Buck Rogers. (You may have heard the name before.) He's not the smartest guy, but actually Buck's advice to his angry, racist son is sound: in answer to Aaron's complaint about things changing for the worse, and blaming Indians for it, Buck replies only, "Son, things have never been like you think they used to be" (p.387).
Or Marie Polatkin, a Spokane Indian, when she's interviewed by an unidentified police officer about the killings happening in Seattle that everyone thinks are by an Indian:
Marie: "if some Indian is killing white guys, then it's a credit to us that it took over five hundred years for it to happen. And there's more."Officer: "Yes?"Marie: "Indians are dancing now, and I don't think they're going to stop." (p.418)
|Awesome French edition cover|