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Ten Little Indians

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  6,056 ratings  ·  523 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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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,056 ratings  ·  523 reviews

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Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are so many short story collections postmillennium 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--S. Alexie is not only a master of his craft, he actually has valuable insights to contribute to the ongoing national discussion. He has something earthshatteringly Terrific & Terrible to say.
Feb 17, 2009 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 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
Rachel C
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
"I'm not scared of the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world. Jerry and Pat aren't the ones crawling in and out of the sweat houses and pontificating about how much they admire Indian culture. I'm scared of the white liberals who love Indians. I figure about 75 percent of white liberals who hang around Indians will eventually start believing they're Indians, then start telling us Indians how to be Indian." (p. 140)
(from "The life and times of Estelle Walks above")

I picked this collect
Mar 01, 2015 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.
Melissa Stacy
The 2004 short story collection, "Ten Little Indians," by Sherman Alexie, is another one of those beautiful and gut-wrenching masterworks that made me laugh a lot and made me cry. These nine stories are trenchant, bitterly uplifting, and focused on various themes surrounding Native American identity in the United States after September 11, 2001.

The phrase "bitterly sarcastic" appears in this book, and while the author's ruthless wit can certainly deliver an abundance of cutting zingers, these st
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I love these short stories by Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian whose works I have read over the years. I guess it's time to admit that he is one of my favorites, and his collection Ten Little Indians is one of the greatest collections of short stories ever written by an Indian raised on a reservation.

Particularly good were "The Search Engine," "The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above," and the last story, "What Ever happened to Frank Snake Church."

There is a gentleness about Alexie's stories t
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
Jul 19, 2009 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
The Reading Countess
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I taught seventh grade, we read Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in my academic English class. I have many recollections of them regaling this tale:
1. An all boys group in this literature circle kept pinching themselves to be reading a book containing curse words. They soon learned quickly that they weren't "bad" words, that they were merely "colorful" words. That's because the bad words in English were words such as very, so, and really (thank you for this powerful
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is the third short story collection I’ve read by Alexie (the others are The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and The Toughest Indian in the World). If you’ve read his stuff before, you know what you’ll get: great prose discussing identity, Native American culture, and Native American struggles. But while his stories revolve around similar topics, I’ve always found his characters distinct and unique (other than a fixation on basketball). Ten Little Indians is no different. We get fa ...more
Kilian Metcalf
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I confess I don't like short stories very much. I prefer long novels I can get lost in for days or weeks. Sherman Alexie is one exception. His short stories are so insightful, funny, or sad, that they contain worlds. This collection is no exception. From the political lawyer who yearns for his glory days as a basketball player to the broke, homeless wanderer who sees his grandmother's dance regalia in a pawnshop, these stories take you far away into a world you can get lost in.
Patricia Kitto
The collection of short stories were different enough to keep me interested but connected enough to feel like a book! 😂
It’s storytelling at its best about the lives of the modern day Pacific Northwest American Indian - irreverent, funny, insightful, and heartbreaking. And the writing is good which is always a bonus!
Jim Cherry
Dec 06, 2009 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,
Jul 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shortstories
A collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie.

The first story, "The Search Engine," is the type of story that will make a lover of books fall in love with an author. The way Alexie talks about books and poetry and readers (and people in general) in the first part of the story is beautiful and poetic and insightful. The rest of the story is great, but that beginning just grabs your heart for all kinds of reasons.

"Can I Get a Witness?" is a crazy story about a woman in a post-September 11th terr
Meghan Fidler
Oct 30, 2012 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
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in a some good, bittersweet stories
Shelves: 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
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
Tom Brennan
I liked this collection of short stories by Sherman Alexie. All of them feature Spokane Indian main characters who are trying to make their way in modern American society. Toward that end, they must decide how much they will reveal of themselves to other Indians and to (white) society at large. For example, the main character in "The Search Engine" attends college and reads voraciously, but she does not let on to others of her vibrant intellectual life. In "The Life And Times of Estelle Walks Ab ...more
May 20, 2009 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
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
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
Dec 12, 2008 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.
Jun 11, 2012 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.
Jul 14, 2009 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.
Jul 06, 2014 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.
Oct 11, 2007 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.
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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
“She wanted to be buried in a coffin filled with used paperbacks. ” 106 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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