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Flight: A Novelby Sherman Alexie
Darkly funny, sharply observant, Flight lays bare the experience of a teenaged outsider circa 2007. Alternately heartbreaking and wondrous, Sherman Alexie's first novel in ten years tells the story of an orphan careening through foster homes until finally, not long after we meet him, he walks into a bank and comes unstuck in time. Gritty, intense, and especially timely, it's a lightning-fast read besides.
Synopses & Reviews
Sherman Alexie is one of our most gifted and accomplished storytellers and a treasured writer of huge national stature. His first novel since Indian Killer is a powerful, fast, and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a legal Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror.
The journey for this young hero begins as he's about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of decision, he finds himself shot back through time and resurfaced in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era. Here he will be forced to see just why Hell is Red River, Idaho, in the 1970s. Red River is only the first stop in a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He will continue traveling back to inhabit the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Bighorn and then ride with an Indian tracker in the nineteenth century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. During these frantic trips through time, his refrain grows: Who's to judge? and I don't understand humans. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all he's seen.
This is Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant — making us laugh while he's breaking our hearts. Time Out has said that "Alexie, like his characters, is on a modern-day vision quest," and this has never been clearer than in Flight, where he seeks nothing less than an understanding of why human beings hate. Simultaneously wrenching and deeply humorous, wholly contemporary yet steeped in American history, Flight is irrepressible, fearless, and groundbreaking Alexie.
"A deadpan 'Call Me Zits' opens the first novel in 10 years from Alexie (Smoke Signals, etc.), narrated by a self-described 'time-traveling mass murderer' whose name and deeds unravel as this captivating bildungsroman progresses. Half-Indian, half-Irish, acne-beset Zits is 15: he never knew his alcoholic father; his mother died when he was six; his aunt kicked him out when he was 10 (after he set her sleeping boyfriend on fire because the boyfriend had been forcing Zits to have sex). Running away from his 20th foster home, Zits ends up, briefly, in jail; soon after, he enters a bank, shoots several people and is shot dead himself. Zits then commences time-traveling via the bodies of others, finding himself variously lodged in an FBI agent in the '70s (helping to assassinate radical Indian activists); a mute Indian boy at the Battle of Little Big Horn; an Indian tracker named Gus; an airplane pilot instructor (one of whose pupils commits a terrorist act); and his own father. Zits eventually comes back to himself and to an unexpected redemption. While the plot is wisp-thin, one quickly surrenders to Zits's voice, which elegantly mixes free-floating young adult cynicism with a charged, idiosyncratic view of American history. Alexie plunges the book into bracing depths." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A funny, irreverent, sardonic but sentimental, rebellious voice set beside his elder...contemporaries....Alexie is the bad boy among them, mocking, self-mocking, unpredictable, unassimilable, reminding us of the young Philip Roth." Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books
"I won't spoil the ending. It is so unexpected, yet earned and deserved. But I will tell you, right here in the pages of a public newspaper, that I cried at the end." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Whatever [Flight] is — literary exercise, rapid-fire monologue, adolescent vision quest — it is nevertheless an often thrilling and surprising ride, and wholly Alexie." Village Voice
"Alexie's concentrated and mesmerizing novel of instructive confrontations is structured around provocative variations on the meanings and implications of flight as it asserts that people of all backgrounds are equally capable of good and evil." Booklist
"Despite its conceits, Flight is the most unpretentious novel I've read in a long time. It's a narrative stripped to its core, all rage and heart... raw and vital, often raucously funny, and there isn't a false word in it." Tom Barbash, The New York Times Book Review
The best-selling author of multiple award-winning books returns with his first novel in ten years, a powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a legal” Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself shot back through time on a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He resurfaces in the form of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, inhabits the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Big Horn, and then rides with an Indian tracker in the 19th Century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all hes seen. This is Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant — making us laugh while breaking our hearts. Simultaneously wrenching and deeply humorous, wholly contemporary yet steeped in American history, Flight is irrepressible, fearless, and again, groundbreaking Alexie.
About the Author
Sherman Alexie is the author of Reservation Blues, Indian Killer, The Toughest Indian in the World, and Ten Little Indians. He wrote and directed The Business of Fancydancing and also wrote the award-winning screenplay for Smoke Signals, a film based on his short-story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.
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