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The Toughest Indian in the World Paperback – Feb 1 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1 Reprint edition (Feb. 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802138004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802138002
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I'd been hearing a lot about Sherman Alexie prior to reading this. His work has been talked about frequently, and The New Yorker has selected him as one of the best American fiction writers under 40. As an aspiring writer myself, I decided to pick up one of his books to judge for myself. And I'm glad I did.
In Alexie's collection of short stories, The Toughest Indian in the World, he takes a look at the world from the perspectives of various Native American characters from all walks of life. From Assimilation, the story of an interracial couple, an Indian woman and a white man, trying to wade through societal pressures and cultural differences to rediscover their love for one another, to Dear John Wayne, the amusing and touching story of an elderly Native American woman recounting her alleged, brief love affair with the "real" John Wayne, these stories are about everyday people trying to find their place in this multicultural, yet divided world.
If you have fragile sensibilities, you may find this book a bit overwhelming at times. Many of the stories in this collection deal with controversial subjects such as race and sexuality with a bluntness that can be surprising to say the least. Mr. Alexie writes about these things with such frankness, never treating them with any hint of the shame or stigma often attached to them, that the reader is given the opportunity to explore them from a perspective he or she may not have considered before. Alexie treats them naturally, as normal aspects of our daily lives. And this is how it should be.
I noticed a surrealistic, sometimes tongue-in-cheek quality to Alexie's work. Some stories will leave you with a gentle smile, while others will linger in your mind long after, perhaps causing you to look at the world around you differently.
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Format: Paperback
I never used to like compilations of short stories, but Sherman Alexie has changed that. This is the second book I've read by him, and I'm infatuated with his writing. The Toughest Indian in the World is about Indians from all walks of life. A woman who is unhappy with her interracial marriage, a man who is madly in love with his wife, people who feel like they have to prove that they are Indian. Even though these stories are about Indian people, anybody of any race can relate to the characters in them. I would highly reccommend this book to everybody, no matter what you like to read, you will find something to relate to here.
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Format: Paperback
Though admittedly inconsistent and often unfocused and needlessly labryrinthine, Alexie's collection of short stories never cease to provide surprise, insight and honest revelation into the search for identity, place and history.
The stories selected here all search for the answer to what makes "the toughest Indian" but also what makes the "toughest human". Alexie provides many possible answers for this universal theme throughout his printed song cycle. As with all of Alexie's work, THE TOUGHEST INDIAN IN THE WORLD resounds with humor, tragedy and tender hope.These stories bodly confront the conflict between tradition, assimilation and duty. With this collection he also adds a strain of homo-eroticism as well as a celebration of education (I find it fascinating that most of his protagonists are educated and literate).
Alexie stands as one of America's finest contemporary writers. While this may not serve as his greatest work (that may be yet to come), it does provide an excellent must read.
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Format: Paperback
Though not without charm, the first 5 stories in this collection, from "Assimilation" to "The Sin Eaters", were simple-minded to the point of childishness, possibly written at an earlier stage of the writer's life before he became the mature author of stories as sensitive as some of the later ones in the same book. "The Toughest Indian in the World", the title story, was published in the New Yorker magazine in a slightly different form, and presented a more adult version of Alexie's theme of gender confusion, loneliness, and stereotypical behavior; we ARE surprised by the hitchhiker's opportunism, and although Alexie's depiction of events seems (maybe intentionally) distant and cold, the protagonist's reaction strikes a genuine note of reality. However, "The Sin Eaters" was incredibly paranoid and sci-fi, like a bad TV movie for teens...and so derivative as to be downright silly. Fortunately, 4 out of the 9 stories were at least grown-up enough to be well worth reading, and I'm glad I didn't just toss the book aside in favor of something with a little more substance, because I would have missed the pleasure of reading "Saint Junior" and "One Good Man", two stories which showed the author's wonderful ability to go straight to the heart of ordinary lives. "Dear John Wayne" is also especially tongue-in-cheek and clever, poking fun at everybody, as well as being a pleasure for the feminists amongst us! All in all, definitely a mixed-breed of a book; Mr. Alexie might do better to determine in a more careful manner which of his stories are really worth publishing, and stick to those which have really developed from child to adult fare.Read more ›
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