June 21, 2007

Sherman Alexie is back.... so go buy his new book

I remember the first time I saw the movie Smoke Signals, how I felt humbled by the humour, the beauty, the delicate respect. And it was only by fluke that I learned it was based on a series of short stories penned by Sherman Alexie, who happened to have been born and raised just outside of Spokane Washington, a few hours across the border from my home town. We used to drive to Spokane all the time as teenagers, stopping at the Indian Reservation to purchase fireworks. That had been the extent of my interaction with American Indians.

Alexie's short stories were published in a collection called The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven and to this day I consider this book to be some of the finest works I've ever read. There is so much honesty in his writing, a willingness to both laugh and rage at the changes his culture has undergone over so many years. And there is a keen sense of spirit too, an almost metaphysical element woven between his words. I try to read it every year.
And now Mr. Alexie, a man I have never met, has a new book out called Flight This has me excited, of course. I assume I am similar to most of you out there when I say that there are certain writers whose books I buy without question or hesitation. Like film, where certain directors illicit the same response from me, once I've read an amazing book I am always looking forward to the next release by the author. Flight will be by next book purchase, to be sure.

So, if you are looking for a new author to check out, a new book to add to your afternoon reading material, or just to expand your reading base (it's so easy to get stuck in a rut when you read) I offer my humble suggestion of any of Sherman Alexie's works. Just use the Amazon link to the right. Or perhaps you want to rent Smoke Signals first, to get an idea of what his writing is about. I have yet to come across someone who has been disappointed by the experience. Here's a final link to CBC's interview with Alexie, regarding his latest novel:

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