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Ten Little Indians

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,895 Ratings  ·  432 Reviews
Sherman Alexie offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant stories about Native Americans who find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads. In 'The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above', an intellectual feminist Spokane Indian woman saves the lives of dozens of white women all around her, to the bewilderment of her only child. In 'Do You Know Where I Am?' two col ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2003)
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman AlexieBeyond Oria Falls by Sheryl SealLove Medicine by Louise ErdrichCeremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Native American Fiction
32nd out of 588 books — 534 voters
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman AlexieThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman AlexieLove Medicine by Louise ErdrichGreen Grass, Running Water by Thomas KingThree Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Best Native American/First Nations Fiction
24th out of 366 books — 258 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katie Schmid
Jul 30, 2012 Katie Schmid rated it it was amazing
Two hours ago, I said I was going to bed, and then I thought, "I'll just read a little to calm myself before bed," which is what I usually do, but which was a poor decision in this instance. Now I have finished with the book, and I have wept all over my pillow, and now I can never read this book again for the first time and there are no pillow stores open at this hour, so fuck everything.

I don't even know if I can talk about it. You read these stories and the tone is so unironic, so attached, so
Feb 17, 2009 Anne rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. Very funny, deadpan. Also eye-opening, in that I had no idea there was (apparently, insofar as the stories are realisms) so much anti-Native racism in the Northwest. His dialogue is fantastic, especially when people talk past each other. Most people seem to think the "9/11 story" or the last, longest story are the show-stoppers; it certainly has the longest stretches of hard-fought transformation, and features a man and his (dying) father, and actually, like many of Alexie's storie ...more
Feb 26, 2009 Babs rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because I really wanted to read Alexie's other short story collection - The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (fabulous title!) and couldn't find it at the time. I'm not a fan of short stories, and I didn't enjoy this collection. But I can say that in my opinion the stories are well-written and if "bold, uncensored, raucous, and sexy" is your thing, then you might really enjoy the book. The story I enjoyed the most was "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" - telling the sto ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Alexie's PERFECT short story collection. Alexie is able to portray gender, poverty, humor, grief and death throughout these stories. I was most impressed by the way Alexie is able to "accurately" portray women and give them a voice through his own. There's a deep understanding of what it is to be human and what it is to live - to live darkly, to live humorously, to live with grief, to live with love.
Three stars is being generous, it's more like 2.5. Most of the stories seemed pretty pointless and even though the books "theme" was Indians, most of the stories had nothing to do with that. If the author deleted the sentence that told you the main character was an Indian, there wouldn't be anything. This was very disappointing.
Aug 12, 2009 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Hmmm....after absolutely loving The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, this one was a little disappointing. And it's funny, because there were some stories (like "What Ever Happened to Frank Snake Church?" and "The Search Engine") that revealed the same open-hearted, funny writer that I loved in Part-Time Indian. There were others that just didn't ring quite as deeply true and one ("Can I Get a Witness?") that I found actively distasteful. I still look forward to reading more Alexie -- ...more
3.5 stars!

My favorites:
"Do You Know Where I Am?"
"What You Pawn I Will Redeem"

Honorable Mentions:
"The Search Engine"
"What Ever Happened To Frank Snake Church?"

It's a personal preference, but I like short stories with a definitive ending. Even if stories end on a somewhat ambiguous note, it should feel natural -- almost like it doesn't make sense for it end any other way. Or, at least that's what I like. "Do You Know Where I Am?" ends perfectly. For some of the others, it feels like Alexie just w
Meghan Fidler
Dec 01, 2012 Meghan Fidler rated it it was amazing
Titled after a fantastic dialog between two non-white men as they described their identities to one another, (in describing his Spokane Identity, the protagonist in "Flight patterns" describes himself not as a 'bejeweled' Indian from India, but the 'bows-and-arrows Indian to a cabbie. The cabby replies, "Oh, you mean ten little, nine little eight little Indians?"), this collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie showcases his talent at describing social relationships. I admire his ability to ...more
Jim Cherry
Dec 14, 2009 Jim Cherry rated it really liked it
Ten Little Indians is a book of nine short stories by Sherman Alexie each dealing with trying to come to terms with lives that are no longer traditional and they need to fit into American culture. Each story is linked not by characters or even setting (even though all the stories are set in Seattle), but by ideas and themes.

The most obvious example are the Indians (that’s what they call themselves) in the stories are searching for new ceremonies for the lives they lead outside of tribal systems,
May 20, 2009 megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book is a collection of short stories about identifying as a Native American. I found a lot of the stories related to "identifying as a Native American after 9/11"--or at least that was certainly a component to the story. When I checked how old the book was, it looked as though it had been written in 2003, so obviously this was a poignant subject for Mr. Alexie. Also, many of the stories mentioned George W. Bush, so this was obviously a real-life character that was having a strong impact ...more
I love Alexie's storytelling and love his insights into life, but I felt that this collection - with the exception of the last two stories - was a repetition of former themes and a conglomeration of familiar characters. Although the last two stories, especially "What You Pawn, I Will Redeem," are excellent, they still have some retread feel to them. His collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is absolutely transcendent as far as style and storytelling. I also deeply love many of ...more
I'm still trying to figure out how to say this:

The thing I like best about short story collections (by a single author), if they're written well and compiled well, is the feeling I get, after reading each story, of comprehending an intimate secret the author needed me to understand. Poetry and novels both can (and do) knock me out, but there's something about the short story that can really get into my blood.

I am in love with this book. I couldn't get enough of it while I was reading it. It acco
Jun 01, 2015 Christina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in a some good, bittersweet stories
Shelves: read-it-loved-it
This is a book that asks you to look deep inside and ask, "Who are you?". A series of short stories of Indians living off the Rez, struggling with their cultural identities. Each story is about relationships, whether good or bad and how they impact your life and color your identity. There are definitely some mis-steps, as I found "The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above" and "Do You Know Where I Am" to be over-long and vague.

You will find so much to laugh and cry over, whether its a young, br
Pierre Fortier
10 nouvelles qui tournent autour de la vie de 10 Indiens de Spokane vivant à l'extérieur leur réserve. 10 histoires qui n'ajoutent pas de briques au mur des clichés. Elles expriment de manière réaliste l'état d'âme des personnages avec un fond de mysticisme à l'occasion. Alexie ne verse pas son fiel dans l'étang du non-respect des valeurs ancestrales des Blancs. Il parle de sans-abri, d'alcoolisme, de rejet, mais aussi de succès et de réussites. C'est tout à l'honneur de l'écrivain autochtone qu ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Fabian rated it it was amazing
There are so many short story collections post-millenium that convey exactly what the writer is all about (The interpreter of maladies, olive kitteridge immediately come to mind), Ten Little Indians is no exception. The heartbreak of the modern Spokane Indian is palpable-- Alexie is not only a master of his craft, he actually has valuable insights to contribute. He has something earthshatteringly terrific and terrible to say.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.0 Stars - Best Story: The Search Engine

I really enjoyed Alexie's young adult, Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, so I was eager to finally pick up his short story collection. The opening story, The Search Engine, was my favourite short story in the collection, providing both a honest commentary on the Native American experience as well as a healthy dose of humour. However, the varying degrees, the other stories felt a bit off to bit. I'm hardly a conservative reader, but I felt that
Dec 13, 2008 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
These short stories were packed. There were some marvelous insights about gender and identity. I don't usually read short stories, but I have been a fan of Mr. Alexie for a long time, and I was reminded of him when he was interviewed by Stephen Colbert recently. The next day I found a copy of this hard cover remaindered and decided to read it. I bought his young adult novel for my son as a present, and I might read that next.
Apr 03, 2016 Chip rated it really liked it
This author was recommended to me by a co-worker, and this was one of the books at the library.

I don't know if this collection of short stories is representative of Alexie's work as a whole, but the genre -- which I guess is documentary fiction? "Slice of life" fiction? I'm not really sure -- isn't normally my genre.

The short stories generally follow a Spokane Indian character through a portion of their life -- sometimes a few days, sometimes 4+ decades -- as they struggle with a situation rangi
David Stephens
Jun 10, 2015 David Stephens rated it really liked it
Shelves: sherman-alexie
Much like Vonnegut, Sherman Alexie has a knack for fusing humor and sadness in such a way that it underscores how both elements underlie most aspects of life. In one story, a woman admits to her husband she has had an affair. In the midst of his hurt and confusion upon finding this out, he envisions himself in a musical, singing and doing a tap-dance "to the primal 4/4 beat of betrayal." In another, a man imagines himself making wisecracks throughout his father's eulogy, but when it comes time t ...more
Jul 14, 2009 Sucia rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite collections of short stories. I loved how Alexie reeled me in and had me share in his human experience. My favorite was the old basketball player one (forgot the official title). A close runner up was the first one, about the girl who tracks down the guy who wrote the Indian poems. I loved how this revealed that sensation we all get when we think we've got the answer, and then realize that it was a farce, or just a smoke screen, and then all we have left is ourselves.
Felix Purat
Sep 13, 2014 Felix Purat rated it liked it
I first heard of Sherman Alexie from Natives I knew in the Humboldt County area; then I read a short story by him in an Existentialism class I took, which proved to be a curious thing (the story happened to be What You Pawn I Will Redeem, which is in this book). Surprised by how much easier it is to find Native literature in Paris, France, than in the overwhelming majority of the US, I decided to read more Alexie, starting with this collection of stories, Ten Little Indians.

My favourite stories
Jun 11, 2012 Aaron rated it liked it
I grabbed it without really knowing it was a collection of short stories, not sure I would have done that had I been paying more attention.

With that said, I wanted to read it because of the first story "Search Engine" and wasn't disappointed in that story. I only wish it had gone on to be the entire book like I erroneously thought it was. The rest of the stories were ok, but nothing truly remarkable or "life changing." Good, but not great.
ACS Librarian
Nine stories, and each one reveals moments of awe.

Alexie 19s characters are Spokane Indians. That 19s how they describe themselves 13 deflecting any stereotypes of mystic, misunderstood, oppressed spirits.

Alexie reveals raw emotions that make me wonder how he could ever imagine them. And he loves basketball. My favorite, 1CWhat Ever Happened to Frank Snake Church 1D, is a heart-wrenching search for spiritual and athletic redemption on the court.

So how can this book be less than perfect? Well,
Jul 06, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it
I'm not a "trigger warnings" kind of person, but if you have a paralyzing fear of flying and you think you can handle a short flight by substituting Xanax for a glass of wine and a good book, don't make it this book. Two of the stories deal with terrorism and 9/11 and you won't be able to enjoy what I'm sure is probably an excellent collection of short stories.
Kellie Ewilson
Sep 12, 2015 Kellie Ewilson rated it really liked it
I think I "unconsciously purposefully" slowed down the reading of this book so that I could finish it on September 11th as there's a story with September 11th discussions called "Can I Get a Witness?". Even though I became uncomfortable at how often white people were mentioned and I experienced some annoying deja vu (Alexie will reuse nuggets of wisdom & humor); I liked something about every story. My favorites were "Do You Know Where I Am?" and "What Ever Happened to Frank Snake Church?" I ...more
Oct 11, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone over 14
Just read it. This is my favorite work by Sherman Alexie. He is a master of short story, and he writes about the topic he knows best: Northwest Indians living in poverty. Basketball finds its way into many stories; Alexie is obviously an avid enthusiast. He writes from the heart. What a joy to read.
Jun 02, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This must have been an EXCELLENT book. I am not a fan of short stories, but I read and enjoyed them all. I think my favorite was the one with Corliss and the poetry. This was one of the "everybody reads" selections for 2013 for the Multnomah County Library.
Jamie Rolleston
Apr 16, 2014 Jamie Rolleston rated it it was amazing
I am not a fan of short stories, generally speaking. However, I couldn't put this book down. As a Māori woman (indigenous to New Zealand) this book resonated with me in a huge way. I admire the way the author has challenged the stereotypes that indigenous people face daily, whether those stereo types come from within or without.
The ease with which he was able to write as a male or a female character amazed and the characters were quick to grasp you and hang on to the reader until the end of each
Aug 15, 2014 Sharlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at

Sometimes you chance upon books by fate, others by the placement of library shelves.

My most often frequented shelves in the library, other than the children’s section, are the Hold shelves. I do a lot of book holds, which can be tricky as the library only allows TEN HOLDS! And it’s an Argh ARGH situation as I request books for myself and the more popular picture books for the kids.

But because the Holds shelves are located perpendicular
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Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date.
Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works in
More about Sherman Alexie...

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“She wanted to be buried in a coffin filled with used paperbacks. ” 101 likes
“Corliss wondered what happens to a book that sits unread on a library shelf for thirty years. Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read?...

'How many books never get checked out," Corliss asked the librarian.

'Most of them,' she said.

Corliss never once considered the fate of library books. She loved books. How could she not worry about the unread? She felt like a disorganized scholar, an abusive mother, and a cowardly soldier.

'Are you serious?' Corliss asked. 'What are we talking about here? If you were guessing, what is the percentage of books in this library that never get checked out?'

'We're talking sixty percent of them. Seriously. Maybe seventy percent. And I'm being optimistic. It's probably more like eighty or ninety percent. This isn't a library, it's an orphanage.'

The librarian talked in a reverential whisper. Corliss knew she'd misjudged this passionate woman. Maybe she dressed poorly, but she was probably great in bed, certainly believed in God and goodness, and kept an illicit collection of overdue library books on her shelves.”
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