Alieda's Reviews > Indian Killer

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
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's review
Aug 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary

An un-put-downable murder-mystery novel, with all the elements typical of the genre: a psychotic serial killer, a retired ex-homicide detective, and a cast of possible suspects. The plot centers around John, a Native American man from an unknown tribe, ho was adopted at birth by a white couple in Seattle. Not really belonging either to white middle-class suburbia, or to the local Native population, he grows up without friendship or a sense of belonging. To make matters worse, his adoptive parents insist on highlighting his differences, trying to teach John about his "culture" using a cornucopia of Indigenous tradition largely appropriated by mainstream white American culture. This mess leaves John with the heartbreaking conviction that he will never be a "real Indian." Enraged and confused, John spirals further into paranoid schizophrenia, hearing voices and strange music, suspecting everyone of being shape-changers, and trying to cope with the increasing probability that everyone is trying to poison him. He is convinced that he needs to kill the white man who is "responsible for all that has gone wrong." Simultaneously, white men appear scalped and mutilated all over Seattle. Now, with racial hate crimes escalating on both sides, John is in danger, and maybe dangerous. Alexie seems to ask his audience: who is the Indian Killer?


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