Reservation Blues PREview


Sherman Alexie is a renowned author, who has won multiple awards for his writing. His book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. He is also a filmmaker, and won Audience Award and Filmmaker’s Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival for his movie Smoke Signals in 1998.


Alexie’s books explore how people deal with the struggles of life. Most of his characters are Native Americans, often Spokane. Alexie uses his characters to critique white America, reservation life, families, alcoholism, tradition, culture, storytelling, and surviving the world. He does so with humor and biting wit.


Reservation Blues is no different. The book begins with Robert Johnson showing up on the Spokane Reservation. He hitches a ride with a local, Thomas Build-the Fire and leaves his famous guitar sitting in Thomas’s van. Using the magic within the guitar, Thomas forms an all Indian band, Coyote Springs. As the band travels and grows, each character’s life is explored, and the wounds and successes of life are laid bare. The band members fight, find love, hate each other, love each other. Get completely wasted. It is a crazy and exciting ride.


Reservation Blues is not the easiest book to read. Alexie’s storytelling slips in and out of the present and the past. His characters have visions and dreams, and sometimes it is difficult to track what is happening to who. However, the book has an amazing rhythm to it, and once you slip into that rhythm and let the story take over in your mind, the book is a fantastic journey into the perils of success, and how our pasts shape our futures.

About john

After an unfortunate run in with a narwhal forced early retirement from his life as a pirate on the Seven Seas, John turned his attention to his second love, Mountain Watching. He is currently fighting to prove that Mount Huascaran has moved 3 feet to the left in the past year, and that one night he saw it crying. When he is not watching mountains, John can be found practicing for the National Caber Toss competition, having staring contests with jaguars, or helping little old ladies cross busy streets.

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