Review: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Filed in Review , Sherman Alexie , The Quirky Lover Posted on July 30, 2010 @ 11:00 am 4 comments

Format Read: Trade Paperback
Number of Pages: 272
Release Date: Feb. 8, 2005 (first published in 1993)
Publisher: Grove Press
Formats Available: Paperback
Purchasing Info: Amazon, Goodreads, BookDepository UK, BookDepository US

Book blurb:
Native American Sherman Alexie presents a highly acclaimed collection of 22 interlinked short stories. “One of the major lyric voices of our time . . . these spare, disturbing stories trace with stark, lyric power the experience of American Indians in the modern world.”–New York Times Book Review.
My Thoughts:
I had never heard of this book before but discovered it from my reading list for my summer course. After devouring it, I wanted to share it with others who may have also missed out (till now).
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a collection of short stories about life, love and the hardships of living on a reservation and being a Native Indian in general. Through school, we hear about lost civilizations and have to wonder about what they were like before disappearing into the sands of time. I think in the case of Indian tribes, the relatively recent history of their cultural losses has more meaning in that we have accessible documentation showing what the first settlers in North America observed. It wasn’t all that long ago that these people were free and living in the land that they had considered their own for countless years before it became “The New World”. We’ve also been able to witness the set up of the reservation system and the destruction of the Indian people by alcohol, small pox, and for some, the inability to continue their nomadic lifestyle. But I digress into a history lesson (sorry!)
Alexie has created stories, inspired by his own life, that at time show a gritty realism of the past and the present. Then, he delves into others that have a more mystic feel, like you’re sitting around at a powwow, smoking a peace pipe. The combination is chilling at times. What’s nice is that there are elements of humour throughout each tale that give a levity while still not detracting for the deeper meaning behind the words. The battle of trying to stay true to one’s own culture while surrounded by the “white man” is an evident, ongoing struggle.
At some points, I felt I needed more information to get to the heart of things. References to Crazy Horse had me scratching my head but this way easily remedied by a quick Wiki search. Besides that, I found this an enjoyable collection and didn’t really want to put it down. Even Alexie’s intro is entertaining. I’m not sure how to classify this, except to say that if you enjoy plain old, good writing, I think you would enjoy The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven!

I give The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven 4 bookies!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review. All our links to the online bookstores are affiliate links. The money earned with these accounts is spent on books for contest exclusively. FYI I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

About Jackie


Jackie is a quirky mom, living in Ontario, Canada. She’s a bookkeeper by day and a book lover by night. She also blogs at The Novel Nation and writes occasionally for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

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4 Comments

Join the Discussion
  • Jan von Harz July 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I have been meaning to read this book ever since I read Alexie's novel The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part-Time Indian. If you have not read this then I highly recommend it Great review, thanks!

  • Jackie July 31, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Thanks, Jan! I'll definitely look into that one too.

  • Felicia the Geeky Blogger July 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Great Review! It is always nice to read something that is little outside the norm.

  • Jackie August 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    So true, Felicia! I love finding great reads that I'd never heard of.

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