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Slice of life poetry and flash fiction; this early work by Alexie is a strong beginning for his career. While the poetry was moving and well-done, he truly shines in the short narratives.
After reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian last summer, I decided to work my way through Alexie's oeuvre since I had already also read and enjoyed Reservation Blues. Two short story collections and one novel later, I was done. Not in that my task was completed but in that I couldn't take anymore. Then The Business of Fancydancing came into my possession after waiting about six months for it. Unwilling to let the book go after waiting so long for it, I decided to see what the f...
Thomas Builds-The-Fire left me crying in a Starbucks.
I've read several of Alexie's books over the years, but never his first, so I scooped it up when I came across it at the library recently. I was heartbroken last year to hear about his repeated sexual harassment of women, but I was still curious to see this relic of more innocent times.I'm not a poetry fan and the short stories are very, very short, so this was a quick read. Some of it was a little opaque for me, but there are some beautiful phrasing and imagery to be found here. It was also int...
Basketball and laughter, fry bread and weeping.
Though this is pretty early on for Alexie, this has some really good stuff in it. It may not hit the same heights as some of his later writing, but you can see in it where he is going to go later. And, as with some of his other collections, I like getting some of his poetry mixed in with some of his prose. I'm less likely to pick up a book of pure poetry and this way I still get to see some of Alexie's poetry. All in all, this is a good collection and I'm glad I read it.
His first book, the most raw, the least structurally organized, and in some ways the most powerful. It's almost like, lacking the formal tools, he writes with the only thing he knows—unfiltered emotion. Mostly poems in this book. Just five stories, most very short; you can see that he is just starting to move from poems to prose narratives.
I've been thinking about pain, how each of us constructs our past to justify what we feel now. How each successive pain distorts the preceding.Me, too. Except I was never able to put it in such a beautiful way.I loved all of this because I am in love with the way Alexie writes. It is (obviously) earlier work but is still solid goodness.4 Stars
Beautiful poetry and prose, heart-wrenching.
One of the pieces I liked a lot:Eugene Boyd Don't Drink Here AnymoreThe Stranger walks into the bar, orders a beer, and asks me wherethe hell Eugene Boyd is, and I tell him, he got shot last year in theparking lot of the Gold Coin, man, he's dead. The Stranger looks me in the eyes, looks the whole bar straight in the eyes, and drinks his beer in one drink. Who the hell did it, the Stranger asks me,and I tell him that everyone knows but the police ain't going to doanything about it because when o...
I wonder if it's my inexperience with verse or my understanding and appreciation for Alexie's later work that have the stronger effect on my perception of this collection. Overall, I felt like the poems were overwrought and even perhaps a bit trite. Alexie usually does a great job of balancing the serious themes of his work with moments of humor. This has the effect, at least to me, of making his more serious moments that much more powerful, and giving a more realistic portrayal of contemporary
Painful - but insightful. I've read his later books (most recently The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, which is marvelously accessible to all kinds of readers,) and his humor and hope sustain one through the pain. This is his first book, and the pain is more raw, but the humor is still there. I am wondering if I might have the courage to look at despair as he does. p.s. I write my review before reading other reviews - and then I go on to avidly read what others think. If you do that...
3.5 stars!The Business of Fancydancing" is another collection of some great short stories and mostly poetry by a brilliant writer.Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite authors but this book did not move me the way all of his other works did. Typically, I find myself re-reading pages of his novels because his descriptions remind me of a sucker punch-hard hitting and void of warning; not this time.
I spent some time rereading pieces and thinking them through as I read this collection. The Business of Fancydancing is Sherman Alexie's first book after having his poems published in other places. He relates on the back cover that he did not go through a writing program or school. I read it with that lens. A lot of the poetry I've been exposed to is spoken word, which similarly doesn't require a degree or expensive workshops. I appreciate the accessibility of ideas, different perspectives, plai...
It's unusual to see a multigenre book (poetry and fiction), so kudos to Hanging Loose Press (NY) for this innovative collection. Conversational diction and highly accessible narratives that concern the American/Native Indian culture. From the piece, "Grandmother," the line "when she died / they gave me her clock," really resonated with me, as the same thing happened to me. It was like, "your time has not stopped, so here's a time piece to mark your continued presence while hers has stopped." Thr...
This was Alexie's first published work, and it contains some 40 poems and five short stories in one slim volume. I am currently reading his memoir "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (published in 2017) and his publications in the intervening twenty-five years make it clear that his work is very much autobiographical and largely inspired by his circumstances growing up poor in an Indian reservation in Washington State. This collection has many humorous, funny moments mixed in with the sad and ne...
I expected to fly through this short book, but that wasn't the case. Although the poems and stories are each brief, I found I couldn't read more than two pieces at a time without needing to stop, to process and contemplate what I'd read. Alexie is able to say a great deal about Indian culture without using many words. His writing, as always, is vivid and lyrical. Each book of his I read opens my eyes and mind, more and more to the history and lifestyle of reservation Indians. He does important w...
This is a fragmented collection of poems and short stories that reveal pieces of the author’s life. You get pieces of how important his father, basketball, and his friendships were during this time, and you get some implicit and explicit commentary on relations between white people and native Americans. The best part about a collection like this is that you can almost read it in any order and get something out of it. I’m not sure where Sherman Alexie is today, but I hope he’s doing well.
I've dipped into a few of Alexie's books, this was the first one I've finished. Sherman Alexie has an ability to paint with his words a couple of realities which many authors fail to portray. First, that broken people are capable of beautiful acts of love and loyalty. Second, that seemingly "together" people are themselves very broken. There are no flat characters in his writing.I found the short stories to be stronger than the poetry, but I don't read a ton of poetry.
The entire time I was reading this thin little book, I was at the brink of crying. I almost want to give group-hug to random people. I read “Pawn Shop” and I was done. I felt raw. It might as well be my beating heart “… I leave, searching the streets, searching storefronts, until I walk into a pawn shop, find a single heart beating under glass, and I know who it used to belong to, I know all of them.”
Some good stuff. I preferred the short narratives to the poetry. l prefer his short stories and especially "Part-Time Indian" which I adored. This was much slower going for me. I sometimes (or often) read too many books at once.
This man, Sherman Alexie, sexually abuses women serially and I will never support his work.Read the comments section: http://www.slj.com/2018/01/industry-n...
A combination of tight, raw poetry and very short stories, this first collection by Alexis shows the grit of his writing. The Native American lifestyle is viewed with the widest of angles. The poetry at times has a rap like quality, amazing for early 90s writing.
I liked it, but I didn't love it. I can trace the line from this to "Part-Time Diary" though.
“....scanning the ground for that missing part, the part that came out whole and bloodless, but fills you up with how much it stays gone.”
Indian LifeThis will give you a great glimpse into an Indians (possible) life. It will make you rethink yours and be glad you are not an Indian.
Time to separate art from the artist I guess.
Just reread this. It is Sherman Alexie's first book, consisting of poems and short prose pieces. His youthfulness shows but so does the promise of things that will be developed in his later books.
I really enjoyed these poems. Great for anyone interested in Native American/Indian poetry. This would be a good intro for highschool students as well.
It was incredible!