Reservation Blues (Paperback)

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(FICTION)

September 2008 Indie Next List


“In this award-winning novel, Alexie resurrects the legend of Robert Johnson, the guitar player who sold his soul to the devil, and brings him and his infamous instrument to a Spokane reservation, where they set off a series of tragicomic events. With its magical realism and remarkable characters, this novel offers a lot of material for discussion, both on style and subject.”
— Dana Schulz, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI

Description


"Many may remember the tale of Robert Johnson, the musician who sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in exchange for being the best blues guitarist around.
What many may not know is that after this tragic deal in Mississippi, Johnson ended up in a small town on the Spokane Indian reservation in Washington state-at least that's how author Sherman Alexie tells it.
In his new book Reservation Blues, Alxie spins the fictional tale of Johnson's adventure at a new crossroads, this one in a small town called Wellpinit, Wash. It is here that he comes to seek out Big Mom, a local medicine woman, and, in so doing, leaves his famous guitar in the hands of misfit storyteller Thomas Builds-the-Fire.
Builds-the-Fire, brought back from Alexie's last book, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, takes up Johnson's magical guitar and, along with Victor Joseph, Junior Polatkin and two Flathead Indian sisters named Chess and Checkers, goes on to build a reservation blues band that takes the Northwest by storm...
As the band plays club after club, Alexie uses music as a crosscultural bridge, without compromising the cultural integrity of his characters. The band members seem to take on the gamut of problems faced by Indians on the reservation today, battling everything from alcoholism to violence, political corruption to sexual abuse.
Ghosts from the past, both personal and historical haunt the musicians, serving both to hold them back and urge them on. It would seem that the scars of abuse run deep." (The Commercial Appeal, June 11, 1995)

About the Author


A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, Sherman J. Alexie, Jr. grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993). For this collection, he received a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction, and was awarded a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. One of the short stories featured in the collection, "This is what it means to say Phoenix, Arizona," was later adapted into the film Smoke Signals (1998), which Alexie helped produce. Alexie was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists and won the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award and the Murray Morgan Prize for his first novel, Reservation Blues, published in 1995. His second novel, Indian Killer (1996), was named one of People's Best of Pages and a New York Times Notable Book. His most recent honors include the 2007 National Book Award in Young People's Literature for his young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Alexie's most recent publications are Flight, released in April 2007, and Radioactive Love Song, in April 2009.

Praise For…


The mystical complexity of Reservation Blues is as mesmerizing as the poetic power of Alexie’s writing. . . . Generously laced with bleak and sometimes wacky humor, but none of that detracts from the book’s poignant theme.” San Francisco Chronicle

Scathingly funny . . . Reservation Blues never misses a beat, never sounds a false note.” Los Angeles Times

Quiet, powerfulbrilliant, deeply moving[Sherman Alexie] is funny, he is perceptive, and he knows how to stir us in large and small ways.” Frederick Busch, The New York Times Book Review

An important voice in American literature.” The Boston Globe

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802141903
ISBN-10: 0802141900
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: February 7th, 2005
Pages: 320
Language: English