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Monday, Nov. 5, 2012

Sherman Alexie Comes to Centennial Hall

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Over the course of his prolific 20-year writing career, Sherman Alexie has given us a view into the modern American-Indian experience through favorites such as The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and the 2010 PEN/Faulkner award-winning War Dances. Now this star of modern literature returns with Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, a compendium of swiftly moving tales that is unique, surprising and, ultimately, hopeful.

This anthology, in typical Alexie fashion, is uncomfortably honest and deals with the sad reality of life on an American-Indian reservation; however, despite their serious nature, the stories remain above all daring and humorous. The collection, which unites 15 beloved classics with 15 new pieces, explores the intersections where cultures meet and sometimes clash. While he explores the complexities of racism and self-awareness mostly through the experiences of American Indians, Alexie’s insights are universal. Overall, this collection is compassionate and bold.

Alexie’s poems, fiction, essays and films have won him international acclaim. Smoke Signals, the film Alexie adapted from one of his short stories, helped to launch him into the spotlight. His semi-autobiographical novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian earned the National Book Award. Much of Alexie’s writing draws from his experiences as an American Indian growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Alexie will speak at Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m., in an event sponsored by Boswell Book Co.