Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite authors. I enjoy his novels and for the most part liked his short stories. His most recent collection of short pieces and poetry, War Dances, however, did not live up to my expectations. I almost had the feeling that this effort was one in which the publisher or agent called and said, "Come on, Shermie baby, it's been a while since you've published anything. How about whipping something up. The account's getting a little bare." And Alexie rifled through his papers and pulled out a few pieces and they were bundled off. None of the storis or poems are all that impressive, though a few are decent. The best stories, in my estimation, were "War Dances," and "The Ballad of Paul Nonetheless" (although the treatment of his wife made me feel very sad and a little bit angry). "The Senator's Son" was ok. The pieces just didn't seem to have the same edge as he managed in The Toughest Indian in the World and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. There was some of his typical humor, which I enjoy, just not enough of it. If you have never tried Alexie, don't start with this effort; try Reservation Blues first.