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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  22,973 ratings  ·  1,882 reviews
In this darkly comic short story collection, Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spoke Indian Reservation. These 22 interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Grove Press (first published September 1st 1993)
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Newly Wardell These shorts are so undeniably human. I know that these short stories capture a small part of American life but the situations that take place seems…moreThese shorts are so undeniably human. I know that these short stories capture a small part of American life but the situations that take place seems so everyday in America. Everyone isnt wealthy. Most ppl will do whatever they can to feed their children. Families break apart and some ppl are weighed down by the expectation of others. Mr. Alexie is a powerful writer. My favorite character so far is Thomas Buildsafire. I found this storyteller with nothing but the truth that no one wants to hear identifiable. I havent finished it yet but I cant wait.(less)
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 ErdrichCeremony by Leslie Marmon SilkoReservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  22,973 ratings  ·  1,882 reviews


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Casey
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
This is one of my favorite books to teach. I give it to my tenth graders. We do most of it as a read aloud. We do most of it as discussion. My students enjoy this book because they don't think they'll be able to connect with native americans on the west coast when they're alt school kids on the east coast, but then they're amazed. Some themes - poverty, alcoholism, depression, love, passion, sex, confusion, loneliness, isolation - are universal.

This is one of the few books that I have read with
...more
Nathan
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven last night on the way to a speech Alexie was giving. I had enjoyed it well enough—Alexie was consistently funny and thought provoking through the entire collection—but it wasn't until afterwards, in a book signing and meet and greet that I actually got it. As I got up to the table, it became clear that I was a bit anxious. I don't do well in crowds, and I was a bit star stuck by his presence. So as I rambled through my words, he finished ...more
Mariel
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: I'd rather dance with you
Recommended to Mariel by: Christy
"We have to believe in the power of imagination because it's all we have, and ours is stronger than theirs." - Lawrence Thornton

Make me jealous. If you can make me jealous, I am yours. I was kinda jealous of the community because they HAD one, despite tearing itself down in the no-past and no-future. I kinda loved these stories. I was almost belonging to it. Sometimes I felt lonely from the possessiveness of their heroes. That kinda sucked because I've been trying hard to avoid loneliness.
...more
Pamela
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To anyone interested in Native American authors...to EVERYONE....everyone should read this...
We need more authors like Sherman Alexie. Being Native American in the U.S. is like living in our own foreign country within a country. No one besides an Indian REALLY knows what it is like to live on a reservation. Alexie vividly paints this picture in a no-nonsense, brutally honest way. I love that. I wish general joe-public had more of a grasp of what growing up Native American is like instead of applying the age-old stigmas of uneducated diabetic drunks who run the casinos and play BINGO.

I
...more
Christy
Alexie's collection of linked short stories is a tale of life on an Indian reservation; it is an exploration of the ways in which Indians deal with the pains and the joys of their lives (storytelling, dance, basketball, food, alcohol); it is a reflection on the relationship between past, present, and future; and it is a meditation on storytelling as a means of bearing witness and as a means of creation and change.

The first story of the collection, "Every Little Hurricane," introduces both the
...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
What's not to love about Sherman Alexie??? Funny and wicked sharp.
Betsy Robinson
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Many years ago I worked in a hub for indigenous peoples and storytellers from all over the world, and I think they taught me a lot—most of it not through ordinary words. Whether they were Native Americans or African shamans or People of the South American Forests or Aboriginal Australians, the thing they had in common was an inclusive view of all life: everything is alive; there is no division between all that is life or between
...more
Xueting
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is one of his earlier short story collections, and I think Sherman Alexie definitely got better at writing later on in his career. Several of the stories here left me skimming because I was confused, bored or both. Some ended too abruptly. In some, it felt like Alexie was going a bit too experimental on the structure and I got lost.

But most of the stories were so excellent. That's why short story collections are so hard to review, for me, because they can be pretty uneven or inconsistent
...more
Evonne
Jan 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
OMG... So glad that I'm done with this book!
Emma (Miss Print)
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
"The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" is one of Sherman Alexie's first collections of short stories. The collection deals with the lives and troubles of Indian in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. The stories also deal with characters that Alexie would later revisit in his novel "Reservation Blues" (specifically, Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Victor, and Junior).

In a 1996 interview with Tomson Highway, Alexie explains a bit about the title of this collection: "Kemosabe in Apache
...more
Christine
Aug 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aspiring writers, natives, anyone
Maybe Alexie's best book--rough and eloquent, sweet and brutal, smoky and colorful and moving, always honest--made we want to write so bad it hurt. I found it in City Lights in SF when I was on a $300 Tercel-no-air-conditioning but a pup tent honeymoon. It's a book I always go back to. Have been following his work since...god, a long time. First went to a fiction panel he was on at Writers@Work, then in bright white Park City. My husband was the only native in the audience, maybe in the ...more
Graphicskat
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was rooting for this one - really, I was. It's about Native Americans on the reservation, for crying out loud. You have to root for the underdog! I was trying so hard to care.

Well, I stopped caring. It was hard to make heads or tails of most of the stories, and even when I did, they didn't go anywhere. Maybe that was the point, but I didn't like it.
RandomAnthony
Jan 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Sherman Alexie can flat-out write, but this book, while strong, is uneven. There are some stunning, beautiful passages along with some standard early-career passages. I liked the book enough to read more Alexie, but I don't see myself pulling it back off the shelf too often.
Gary Guinn
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This collection of short stories from 1993 is a poignant collage of Native American life on the reservation. Anyone who has seen the movie Smoke Signals (the screenplay of which written by Alexie) will recognize characters and events taken from various stories in the collection, though he freely adapted which characters did and said which things for the movie. And characters who play only minor roles in the movie take on more substantial parts in the short-story collection.

I loved this book—
...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Emulating my Goodreads and blog friend, Buried in Print, I stretched out my reading of this short story collection for almost a month! I didn't blow through it like a novel, which had been my short story habit before. I LOVED this collection, savoring my daily story. It's got that Alexie mix of sad and funny, full of quirky details, some mundane, some magical. Each story is an exploration of being an Indian (Alexie's term) in America, both on the reservation and off. Lots of broken families and ...more
Shayla
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bbc-book-club
Well, I still like Alexie, but I had higher hopes for this collection of short stories, because I really loved Ten Little Indians. The duality and complexity that I've found in his other books and short stories was missing for me in this collection. I didn't really laugh or cry and instead, I just felt blah by most of the stories. My two favorites were DISTANCES and INDIAN EDUCATION. It's not like these two stories were the most upbeat or anything, in fact far from it, but they really resonated ...more
Jendimmick
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
In this compilation of short fiction stories, Sherman Alexie shows the sempiternal hardships and difficulties that Native Americans endure. The Native Americans in this book are located on Spokane Reservation, Washington State. Through the book’s depiction of this multi tribal society, the reader is presented with the conflicts and strife the Spokane people face. Alcoholism and discrimination run rampant in the lives of these Native Americans, who endlessly try to find their identity amidst a ...more
Amy
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
It really isn't fair of me to rate or review this book, because it is very clearly not written for me. It's like asking your 100 year old grandmother to review a Metallica concert. Like asking your six year old to review sashimi. Like asking your husband to rate the pain of childbirth. Like asking a white woman to review the stories of a Native American man.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a collection of short stories about the experiences of various Spokane Indians living on
...more
Terence
Feb 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terence by: Friend at work
A tepid 3 stars for this collection. A friend at work is an Alexie fan, and when I came across this book for 50 cents at the library, I picked it up. None of the stories were bad, some were quite good, but I never connected with any of them emotionally, and too many felt self-consciously contrived.

There were two moments of connection, however, that make me willing to read more Alexie and just pushed this volume into the 3-star range.

The first one comes up in "Because My Father Always Said He Was
...more
Lisa
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
I went through different emotions while reading this book. The first time I picked it up I read a few pages and decided I wasn't in the mood to read it. This last time I picked it up I actually thought it was a different book, but read it anyway.

It's interesting the way Alexie writes, combining vulgarity with such a poetic voice. The first story made me want to put the book down again, but my brother convinced me to trudge on. The second story had a bit of what I assumed my brother loved about
...more
Lee
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in past and contemporary struggles of american indians
Shelves: alreadyread
alexie's most famous book. was developed into the indie-movie hit smoke signals. a collection of inter-connected short stories that follows a few central characters through reservation life in the latter half of the 20th century. american indian myth, religion, and traditional culture all are addressed by alexie as he attempts to find a place for them in contemporary life. also, the paradox (and alexie seems to argue, at times, crutch) of the reservation is exposed. alexie's prose is wonderful ...more
Libby
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone everywhere
This is the book that really made me fall in love with Sherman Alexie, made me want to name my cat after him, made me go on to read everything I could find of his. I had seen the movie Smoke Signals, which was written by Alexie based on this book, a few years before and though I had liked it very much and my mother has me do my Victor/Thomas calls often, it took me awhile to actually read the collection of stories the film was based on. Alexie has a repetitive way of writing, that you don't ...more
Madeline
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Sherman Alexie makes his short stories feel like poems. All very well-written, albeit depressing. Funny at the most inappropriate times, and very entertaining.
Three other equally good Alexie novels: Ten Little Indians, Flight, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
David
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A lightning fast read, and very powerful short stories about what it is to be 'Indian,' and one of the greatest and most tragic collections of short stories I have read (Which is a feat in itself). The prose is breathtaking and so very, very, sorrowful. The lamentations of a decimated, dying, destroyed people robbed of their land, culture, and heritage. I'll most definitely be reading more of his work. If you haven't pondered the spiritual torment of the Native American people, this book can put ...more
Wiebke (1book1review)
I flew through this book and really enjoyed the stories about the reservation and the recurring characters.
Paul Secor
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-cuts
Sherman Alexie writes about the real. When the real becomes too real, it transforms into the magical. And vice versa.
Steph
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so happy I ended the year and met my goal with this book. This has very easily become one of my favorite books ever.
There is nothing like reading something that was written with emotion behind it. The last time I read something similar was Just Kids by Patti Smith, but where JK was written with nothing but love, Alexie writes with anger. The emotion is raw and his poetic nature shines right through a short story collection. I loved every single story.
I bought this at a used book sale for
...more
Anita
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely magic. A slow-starter and I might give it 4 1/2 stars if I had the option, but really all the stories felt so damn true and lived-in; the beauty of it snuck up on me. It's crazy that stories like these still aren't really part of the general American consciousness. But I'm not really surprised.
Jo
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I read the first two of the stories in this collection over several weeks and the rest in two long reading periods. I found that the latter felt the way to read this book as the character of Victor is in almost every story and this feels like snap shots of his life linked together. Many of the other characters also feature all the way through and create the feeling of this tight community of the reservation.

My perceptions of ‘Indians’ were mostly uninformed for the first thirty years of
...more
Megan ♡
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
ENGH 354

Everything I could say about this book is overshadowed by the #MeToo Movement and the recent allegations against Sherman Alexie. I have never read any of his books, but the fact that such a renowned minority voice is being swept into this is heartbreaking. Especially after reading this short story collection, which magically and lyrically gives insights into life on Native American reservations.

Genuine minority voices are so hard to come across, and I appreciate that the class in which
...more
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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
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“We're all travelling heavy with illusions.” 115 likes
“Your past is a skeleton walking one step behind you, and your future is a a skeleton walking one step in front of you. Maybe you don't wear a watch, but your skeletons do, and they always know what time it is.” 82 likes
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