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Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,703 Ratings  ·  580 Reviews
Sherman Alexie’s stature as a writer of stories, poems, and novels has soared over the course of his twenty-book, twenty-year career. His wide-ranging, acclaimed stories from the last two decades, from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven to his most recent PEN/Faulkner award-winning War Dances, have established him as a star in modern literature.

A bold and irrev
Hardcover, First US Edition, 465 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Grove Press (first published September 26th 2012)
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Ned This is my first time reading this author and I'm thoroughly enjoying it and have snorted out loud more than a few times. He's very satirical but at…moreThis is my first time reading this author and I'm thoroughly enjoying it and have snorted out loud more than a few times. He's very satirical but at the same time some stories can be very profound and deep. Really glad I bought this.(less)

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Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Blasphemy is a collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie, which I didn't know until I started reading the book. Yes, go me for not reading the blurb and going wild on my library's online reservations feature!

I really like short stories but - and I mentioned this in other reviews before - not every author can write them, and only few authors can really write them well.
Short stories are a different beast from novellas or novels.

Alexie's stories are entertaining and informative, and they certai
Miah D
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
Sherman Alexie is one of the most well-regarded voices in 21st century Native American literature. And, he's one of my favorite authors. So, it pains me greatly to rate Blasphemy with three out of five stars, when I know him to be a five-star author.

Blasphemy explores the continued modern-day alienation of Native Americans and his community's struggles with alcoholism, acceptance of homosexuality, and the death of strong Native American men. Darkly comic, Blasphemy makes the reader smile at time
Ann M
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sherman Alexie can do no wrong.
Daniel Cohen
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing

What a ride. I'm still rather new to short story anthologies (I tend to prefer a good novel) and this one hit me hard. I especially loved the final story, 'What you pawn I will redeem.' My chest still aches after finishing it just a few minutes ago. I usually give myself a little bit of time to write a review, but I was so impressed by "Blasphemy" I knew I had to go and write something right away and hopefully persuade someone to give the book a try.

Alexie writes like no one else I've come acro
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book hit me from all sides, hard.

Sherman Alexie's latest (?) collection of short stories combines his older works (which I hadn't read before) with new works and ideas (again, nope), and now I'm kicking myself for not having explored Alexie's work before; believe me, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been bumped waaaaaay up in my queue.

While some of the basketball-centric stories started to lose me, the overwhelming majority of this collection made me think, feel, and sh
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sherman-alexie

“Does a holy song lose its power if its singer is untalented?”—War Dances (p.47)

I’m not a big fan of melancholy. I’m not a big fan of slice-of-life. I’m not a big fan of despair, either. Yet I am a huge fan of Sherman Alexie; although his stories are rife with all of the above. They’re also packed with irony, irreverence, warmth, humor, human-interest, a smidgen of hope, and some of the best damn metaphors ever, anywhere.

The 24 stories (12 old, 12 new), in his collec
Helen Mallon
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My Philadelphia Inquirer Review

An Excerpt

QUESTION: Why does America love Sherman Alexie, author of Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories?

ANSWER: Well, he's a sometime standup comedian - who also happens to be a prolific, award-winning poet, novelist, young-adult writer, and filmmaker. Of course, successful isn't the same as lovable. A true comedian, Alexie lampoons all species of Americans in his writing, but what makes him popular is his inclusive embrace.

If Charles Dickens had been born to the S
Petter Nordal
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you love Sherman Alexie, like i do, all you need to know is that he is coming out with a new collection!

If you don't love Sherman Alexie, get this book!

Some of the stories are found in other collections, but they are worth reading again. The new ones are full of the amazing voice, cadence, imagery, empathy, vision, hope, undertsanding and humor that make a weekend on the sofa with Sherman Alexie better than a weekend at your favorite vacation destination with your best friends!

(It is true tha
Beth Lind
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honest, painfully so at times. I love a book that makes me squirm sometimes. Alexis books have all been really good and this collection of short stories didn't disappoint.
Connie  Kuntz
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sherman Alexie writes about evil and shame so beautifully, I am now convinced that evil and shame are good things.

He also writes about wisdom, sex, and the repercussions that come with both. Here is an example:

"Every woman can have all the men she wants if she lowers her standards a bit."

Every short story in this collection is excellent, but if you want to know which ones are my favorites they are:

Green World. Incredible imagery. A short story that takes place in the future. Windmill farms, bi
Sherman Alexie writes some short stories so short, they are almost not stories, and some so long they are almost novellas. One very short one became a movie (Smoke Signals). He makes fun a lot of white folks romanticization of Indians and I have seen a lot of what he describes myself. I should add here that it is white folks who decided to called indigenous people "Native Americans". There are even universities that are so politically correct that they require the use of the term Native American ...more
Anne-Marie Hodge
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is possibly one of the best short story collections that I've read. Often with short stories, I'm left feeling like I still have only an abstract view of the characters. Alexie does a fantastic job of creating moving, deep, thought-provoking situations and characters. The stories in this book center around the lives of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, and the diversity of characters still dealing with common themes is extremely interesting and leaves you wanting more. I especially ...more
Thirty-one new and selected short stories by one of my favorite writers. Do I hear B.D. Wong when I reread “Breaking and Entering” because he read the story on “Selected Shorts?” Yes, of course. And I hear Keir Dullea’s voice as I reread “What You Pawn, I Will Redeem,” from the same radio show. Some I know —or think I know-- I’ve read before like “The Toughest Indian in the World,” “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” “War Dances.”

I d
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This collection of stories is not all new, which dropped the rating (not because they're not good stories, but because I'd already read them and really would have loved more new stuff).

What Alexie means by "Blasphemy" is, I think, that he's unafraid to talk about the things that most Indians don't want to talk about: the alcoholism, the HUD homes, the poverty of the rez, etc.. Very few of the stories fail to touch on one, if not all, of those themes, hammering home again and again how the Indian
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed Alexie's writing over the years. It is nice to have this anthology and to revisit the 15 republished stories that comprise his best work in this style. (I'm partial to his poems and shorter novels, particularly "Flight" and "Dangerous Anatomy", but the man can write a story!) Some of the 16 new works are also strong and atmospheric but I'm unlikely to revisit more than 3 or 4 of those.

Ultimately I think that gathering these particular stories together was a disservice to the autho
Danielle Franco-Malone
I made it about 75 pages through and then got pretty tired of it. As much as I love Sherman Alexie, I am somewhat tired of the semi-autobiographical short stories, many involving the same little quirks, like having had water on the brain as a baby, living outside the Spokane reservation, and all relying on the same themes about modern day tribal dysfunction/isolation and the search for identity/community, etc. It just starts to feel so damn formulaic! And unlike a novel, the short story format m ...more
Megan Baxter
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
If I may borrow a metaphor from my favourite author, this is the sort of short story collection that should be served with a whisk brush, so you can dust yourself off after you pick yourself up off the floor. Blasphemy was my first introduction to Sherman Alexie, and it certainly won't be the last.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stranger in his homeland

Alexie's stories are heartbreaking homages to literature in general and to poetry specifically. He illustrates how difficult it is to be an exile in one's own homeland and how family and tribal ties can both sustain and break one's heart. Each one of these short stories is a precious gem that lingers in the reservation of my mind.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sherman Alexie is one of those authors that I never truly know how to review. And that's a good thing. This collection of both new and previously published short stories (all new to me) covers a range of what it means to be a "modern day Indian" (his words) navigating between reservations and the outside world. His writing touches on a range of emotion, intellectual review, a writing as a craft that makes it hard to discuss, especially critically. For example, there were stories I connected with ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
How is it possible that I have never read Sherman Alexie before? That is no longer true and I am so looking forward to making my way through his entire body of work. Loved these stories and his voice.
Foolishly,I wrote my first review of this book on the fly, and when it didnt post,that was it,gone. So it's taken me a little while to write something else which I am now about to copy in the hope that this will take.

I am taking the trouble to do this, not that I think it will make much difference in the great scheme of things,but because the effort is worth it if i just can introduce at least one person to this amazing and underrated author. Because Sherman Alexie is the real deal. His muscular
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: amazon-vine
Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie (2012)

I've read several of Alexie's earlier story collections as well as his novels Flight, Reservation Blues and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Alexie is an incredibly talented writer shining a light onto a part of America's culture that is very rarely seen in modern literature.

That said, his work is never easy to take filled with wasted potential, sadness and a pervasive sense of everything that an entire culture has lost
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have read most of the stories, have been savoring them, but "Search Engine" prompted this short review and recommendation. Corliss is another wonderfully memorable character. The last one who struck me so was Ava in "Swamplandia". Although they are very different in a lot of ways, they are both strong young women, plotting their own paths in life--kind of going against the stream, or expectations others have of them. They remind me of my strong daughter, and their relationships with their mother ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had no idea who Sherman Alexie was until I was gifted this book of short stories. In the beginning, the stories were so dangerous and risky, then I found them to be curious and risky. I was scared of some of the stories, which will place you in a twisted mindset. I really loved the stories titled Salt and the last story What you pawn I will redeem, which I am sure many other readers have mentioned in their reviews. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster ride. Looking to read more from thi ...more
Ambre Lee
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beginning with "Cry Cry Cry"-it's like Alexie takes a cold steel blade to your gut and gives it a subtle turn...the story is so good it leaves you breathless. Meth is a huge problem in certain LA communities and it's invigorating to read something that feels so poignant-instead of the tiresome Breaking Bad show that doesn't seem to go away.
Carol Storm
Oct 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Good collection of stories, but if you've read one you've read them all.

"Johnny Loser Boy was the only Spokane left on the rez who knew how to make a perfect jump shot. Every time he soared the Sky Salmon within him soared as well. But one day his best friend Jay Takes Away stole his ball and made him look like a clown. That was the last day Johnny Loser Boy ever played ball on the rez."
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A tender, rough, brilliant collection of stories. No one writes quite like Sherman Alexie. He walks that line between breaking your heart into pieces and making you want to howl or laugh or rush out into the rain just because, declaring your imperfections and humanity. Wow.
(this was a Goodreads First Reads win, and I read an uncorrected proof).
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, shortstories
Almost every story was amazing. I love the way Alexie thinks. I love his sarcasm. I like the way he makes me sad. The first book of his I read made me angry in my impotence. But we've grown together and now I recommend him to everybody. I guess I can return this book to my mother now :-)
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this book by Native writer, Sherman Alexie, Reservation Blues. I pick up his book Blasphemy which is short stories periodically. Today I opened it to a story that had the same characters as Reservation Blues, which threw me off a bit. The short story was This Is What It Means To Say Phoenix, Arizona. Knocked my socks off! What a writer.
While I have my usual complaint about short stories (that I wish they were full length because I want MORE!), this was an interesting, diverse and complex bundle of Sherman Alexie's work. Some painful stories, some heartwarming, many funny bits. Hard not to stay up too late reading them all in one setting.
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Tompkins County P...: Rate this book 1 1 Oct 31, 2017 07:08AM  
Tompkins County P...: Vows 2.0 1 2 Oct 30, 2017 02:17PM  
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Tompkins County P...: Leaving Home 3 1 Oct 26, 2017 02:06PM  
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Tompkins County P...: Vagaries of Love 1 1 Oct 25, 2017 01:57PM  
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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...
“In this world, we must love the liars or go unloved” 10 likes
“He felt split in two, one crazy man eating hair and one rational man watching a crazy man eat hair. He chewed and swallowed the last pieces of his father's life. He felt like he was building a museum of pain, a freak show, where he was the only visitor viewing the only mutant screaming the only prayer he knew: Come back, Daddy. Come back, Daddy. Come back, Daddy. Come back, Daddy. Come back, Daddy. Come back, Daddy. Come back, Daddy. Come back Daddy...” 3 likes
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