Synopses & Reviews
Sherman Alexie's stature as a writer of stories, poems, and novels has soared over the course of his twenty-book, twenty-year career. His wide-ranging, acclaimed stories from the last two decades, from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
to his most recent PEN/Faulkner award-winning War Dances
, have established him as a star in modern literature.
A bold and irreverent observer of life among Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, the daring, versatile, funny, and outrageous Alexie showcases all his talents in his newest collection, Blasphemy, where he unites fifteen beloved classics with fifteen new stories in one sweeping anthology for devoted fans and first-time readers.
Included here are some of his most esteemed tales, including What You Pawn I Will Redeem," This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” The Toughest Indian in the World,” and War Dances.” Alexie's new stories are fresh and quintessential — about donkey basketball leagues, lethal wind turbines, the reservation, marriage, and all species of contemporary American warriors.
An indispensable collection of new and classic stories, Blasphemy reminds us, on every thrilling page, why Sherman Alexie is one of our greatest contemporary writers and a true master of the short story.
"The National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award-winner's latest work combines 15 classics ('The Toughest Indian in the World'; 'Salt'; 'Indian Education') with 15 recent stories of varying length and tenor, and the result should attract new converts and invite back longtime fans. Heralded for his candid depictions of life on a reservation in the Pacific Northwest, versatile Alexie traverses familiar territory while also branching out. A son envisions his dead father's 'impossibly small corpse' peering out of his morning omelet in the page-long 'Breakfast.' In 'Gentrification,' a white narrator's do-gooder intentions go predictably awry in his all-black neighborhood. 'Night People' finds a sex-starved insomniac and a connection-hungry manicurist at a 24-hour New York City salon finding common ground in their loneliness and lack of sleep. In 'Faith,' a married man and a married woman at an evangelical dinner party who have an instantly easy rapport deliver witty repartee at the expense of their sheepish spouses. As in previous volumes, Alexie hammers away at ever-simmering issues, like racism, addiction, and infidelity, using a no-holds-barred approach and seamlessly shattering the boundary between character and reader. But while these glimpses into a harried and conflicted humanity prod our consciousness, there's plenty of bawdiness and Alexie's signature wicked humor throughout to balance out the weight. Agent: Nancy Stauffer Associates." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Alexie is a virtuoso of the short story....His first two blazing collections, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and The Toughest Indian in the World, established him as an essential American voice. Now, many books later, best-selling Alexie has created a substantial, big-hearted, and potent collection that combines an equal number of new and selected stories to profound effect. In these comfort-zone-destroying tales...Alexie writes with arresting perception in praise of marriage, in mockery of hypocrisy, and with concern for endangered truths and imperiled nature. He is mischievously and mordantly funny, scathingly forthright, deeply and universally compassionate, and wholly magnetizing. This is a must-have collection." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"[A] sterling collection of short stories by Alexie, a master of the form....The newer pieces are full of surprises....These pieces show Alexie at his best: as an interpreter and observer, always funny if sometimes angry, and someone, as a cop says of one of his characters, who doesn't 'fit the profile of the neighborhood.'" Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Over the years, Alexie has carved out a space in American literature as the great, tragicomic bard of the modern Native American experience. The stories in Blasphemy offer ample proof why....Told in [Alexie's] irreverent, unforgettable voice....You'll feel you've been transported inside the soul of a deeply wounded people. But they are a people too comfortable in their brown skins to allow those wounds to break them....With irony and sardonic wit, the Native men and women in Alexie's imagination find a way forward, and they endure....[A] great triumph." Los Angeles Times
"Alexie deftly administers near equal doses of pathos and humor, providing such smooth entertainment that some readers may glide over his empathetic treatment of such themes as racism, identity, family, loyalty, and ceremony....Will appeal to fans of Junot Diaz, George Saunders, and readers new to Alexie will find this enriching collection to be the perfect introduction to a formidable literary voice....[Alexie] illuminates the lives of his characters in unique, surprising and, ultimately, hopeful ways." Boston Globe
"Tough, warmhearted, rowdy, and moving....Alexie's achievement here is his depiction of the tangled complexities of race — that great open secret of American life — in an undidactic and utterly natural way." The Washington Post
"A timely reminder of Alexie's genius." John Burnside, the Guardian
"Alexie's affectionate tweaks at Native American culture are wonderfully done....Blasphemy is blasphemous only in disrespecting the boundaries that many would place on those who mine otherness." Washington Independent Review of Books
"If literary fiction in its purest form is meant to be an accurate reflection of human experience and its inevitable ambiguities, Alexie skillfully offers us this in Blasphemy....What Alexie makes poignantly clear in the stories he has written in his long and robust career is that we cannot choose whom we fall in love with, nor can we choose who, fundamentally, we are." San Francisco Chronicle
"Sweet, salty, and full of heart....In his stories [Alexie's] stories are wide open to love and death, fathers and sons, grief and loss, and the multiple dilemmas of marriage and race and waking up pathetically human. His stories speed along, most first-person narration, in a voice so captivating you don't want him (or her) to stop." Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
New and selected favorite stories from two decades of writing by the National Book Award-winning, bestselling, inimitable national treasure, Sherman Alexie.
About the Author
Alexie is a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. He has won the Pen/Faulkner Award, Stranger Genius Award in Literature, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, and the Malamud Award. Alexie lives in Seattle.