War Dances: Book summary and reviews of War Dances by Sherman Alexie

War Dances

By Sherman Alexie

War Dances
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2009,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

Fresh off his National Book Award win, Alexie delivers a heartbreaking, hilarious collection of stories that explores the precarious balance between self-preservation and external responsibility in art, family, and the world at large. With unparalleled insight into the minds of artists, laborers, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change. In a bicoastal journey through the consequences of both simple and monumental life choices, Alexie introduces us to personal worlds as they transform beyond return.

In the title story, a famous writer must decide how to care for his distant father who is slowly dying a "natural Indian death" from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor. Alexie dissects a vintage-clothing store owner's failing marriage and his courtship of a married photographer in various airports across the country; what happens when a politician’s son commits a hate crime; and how a young boy discovers his self-worth while writing obituaries for his local newspaper.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Alexie unfurls highly expressive language, and while at times his jokes bomb and the characters' anger can feel forced, overall this is a spiritedly provocative array of tragic comedies." - Publishers Weekly

"The author's considerable talent is only intermittently in evidence here." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Sherman Alexie Author Biography

Photo © Rob Casey

Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane. Approximately 1,100 Spokane Tribal members live there. Alexie's father is a Coeur d'Alene Indian, and his mother is a Spokane Indian.

Born hydrocephalic, with water on the brain, Alexie underwent a brain operation at the age of 6 months and was not expected to survive. When he did beat the odds, doctors predicted he would live with severe mental retardation. Though he showed no signs of this, he suffered severe side effects, such as seizures and uncontrollable bed-wetting, throughout his childhood. In spite of all this, Alexie learned to read by age three, and devoured novels, such as John Steinbeck'...

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Author Interview
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Name Pronunciation
Sherman Alexie: sher-mn a-lexie

Other books by Sherman Alexie at BookBrowse
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