The life of Spokane Indian Thomas Builds-the-Fire irrevocably changes when blues legend Robert Johnson miraculously appears on his reservation and passes the misfit storyteller his enchanted guitar. Inspired by this gift, Thomas forms Coyote Springs, an all-Indian Catholic band who find themselves on a magical tour that leads from reservation bars ...Read MoreThe life of Spokane Indian Thomas Builds-the-Fire irrevocably changes when blues legend Robert Johnson miraculously appears on his reservation and passes the misfit storyteller his enchanted guitar. Inspired by this gift, Thomas forms Coyote Springs, an all-Indian Catholic band who find themselves on a magical tour that leads from reservation bars to Seattle and New York--and deep within their own souls.Read Less
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Interesting book, enjoyed reading about the reservations.
Jan 26, 2014
Alexie makes reservation life come alive to you when you read the clear, cleaver presentation of characters you can relate to, he is a wonderful writer.
Aug 27, 2009
Sherman Alexie delights in magical realism. Burning guitars, old ageless women who teach rock stars their musical craft at the top of her mountain, and tangible shadows that take the shape of horses are just a few manifestations of the mechanism by which Alexie conveys what it is to be an Indian in modern America. He tells his story of an all-Indian blues band with humorous anger, so while the read is enjoyable, you come away with a sadness in your gut. The characters face down the burdens of their childhood, the burdens of who they are in the present, and the burdens of what they desperately want for their future.
Most of all, the novel shines a glaring light on the relationship between white America and the America on the reservation. It isn't pretty. Maybe a lot has changed, but simultaneously nothing has.
Alexie's prose is extremely readable without ever being facile. It slides through your consciousness but instead of coming out the other end, it sticks in there somewhere, and you realize you've been reading something pretty important. What a great writer.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-05-01 The characters of Alexie's acclaimed short fiction (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven)-Thomas Builds-the-Fire, Victor, Junior, the habitu?s of the Spokane Indian reservation-return in this superb first novel, a lyric comic tale with magical realist overtones. A stranger arrives on the reservation carrying a magic guitar, which he's been given as part of his bargain with ``the Gentleman'' for blues immortality. Now he's trying to lose guitar, devil and deal. Taking the instrument off his hands, Thomas soon forms an all-Indian R&B band with Victor and Junior. The group, Coyote Springs, plays small clubs and bars and eventually goes on tour. They even attract their own groupies-white women Betty and Veronica and Indian sisters Chess and Checkers Warm Water. Will they succeed and, if they do, will they lose their souls? Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur D'Alene Indian, excels at creating colorful characters, and he fills his narrative with subtle and affectionate homages to other contemporary Native American writers (Jim Northrup, Thomas King et al.). Hilarious but poignant, filled with enchantments yet dead-on accurate with regard to modern Indian life, this tour de force will leave readers wondering if Alexie himself hasn't made a deal with the Gentleman in order to do everything so well. (June)
Publishers Weekly, 1996-09-09 This first novel by the author of the story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven revolves around a bluesman's gift of a guitar to a Native American on a reservation. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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