Indian Killer

Indian Killer

Book - 1998
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Native American Sherman Alexie's new novel is a departure in tone from his lyrical and funny earlier work, which include The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Reservation Blues. The main character is an Indian serial killer who incites racial tension by murdering whites in retribution for his people's history. The killer leaves clear signs of his motives by scalping his victims, and leaving feathers as gestures of Indian defiance. The killer is a conflicted creation--raised by loving white parents, but twisted by loss of his identity as an Indian. Alexie layers the story with complications and ancillary characters, from a rabid talk show host, to vengeance seeking whites, to liberals who find their patronizing espousal of Indian causes no longer so easy.
Publisher: New York : Warner Books, 1998.
Edition: Warner Books ed.
ISBN: 9780446673709
0446673706
Branch Call Number: 813.54 ALE
Characteristics: 420 p. ; 22 cm.

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jackseney Dec 20, 2015

(Mild spoiler alert for the following) Not as good as Alexie's short stories and apparently published in the 90s, this is still worth a look for the adventurous and the non-p.c. Particularly taking a beating here (physically, at one point) is a white liberal professor. He is the victim in some of the novels more hilarious scenes as he is frequently challenged by a spunky Indian girl student. Yes, Alexie upholds his tradition of offending most everyone, including Indians themselves. But this tale is more on the "Indian militant" side and ends, rather than with an absolute solution as to who the real killer is, with a scene of Indian mysticism. There are many arguable themes and questionably generalized historical claims made here, but those really aren't the point. A sense of human existentialism pervades the proceedings instead, with American Indians being the cultural locus of them. But as a priest tells the suspected killer in one scene, most of the white people seem lost as well. Alexie also managed fairly well here the feat of putting together a page-turning thriller infused with serious literary themes, and that he did so while still a quite young writer is a credit to his natural talent.

c
crankyisgood
Jul 04, 2012

Alexie captures a modern debate about white and Indian culture in an intense and gripping mystery.

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