Pastoral Genocide


Sherman Alexie:The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
June 10, 2008, 4:20 am
Filed under: Literature | Tags: , ,

Sherman Alexie :: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

Real Talk. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is an ironically American portraiture of life on the reservation, as seen through the eyes of the people it holds hostage. The book is a collage of 27 short stories, all of which are set on or around the Spokane Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington state. In its totality, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a bleak look into a self-contained bubble of alcoholism and bitter predestination, a place where hope exists only within the pervasive framework of hopelessness. Alexi’s voice is both unique and raw, a patchwork of pedestrian realities that conclude in slow burning tragedy.

For all of it’s granular hardship, however, Alexi’s prose becomes paralyzed by the stale rigidity of repetition: familiar voices in familiar places, saying and doing familiar things. Ultimately – and unfortunately so – The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven’s efficacy is diminished by Alexi’s puritanic homogenization of time and place. The collection’s cast of characters are different people living the same life, unable to distinguish themselves from their reality. The end result is a hodge podge of talent and potential and a vaguely masturbatory compulsion to emphasize callous suffering over the individual.

It is, as they say, an opportunity missed.

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