As someone who enjoys both short stories as a form and self-aware humor as a device, I enjoyed all of these stories. All his characters are their own, distinct in voice and outlook, united by anxiety and narrative strength. There's nothing polished or glossy in Ten Little Indians, and that's one of the books strengths; it takes the good with the bad and makes it all important - all thoroughly worth reading, and funny even where it can't exactly be fun.
As an aside, I didn't find the sexuality in the book nearly as gratuitous or jarring as several of the other commentators here. About eight months later, I only remember two cases: one of the most painfully honest accounts of racial fetishization I've read, and one of the most memorable & touching scenes involving both a children's hospital and a dildo.
This is the type of literary "super-realistic-warts-and-all" style that I don't really like. But this was for a more-important-than-average book group, so I made a greater-than-average effort to finish. I didn't like the casual (and very crass) sexuality thrown in at the beginning for no real reason, but Alexie either put it in the earlier stories to weed out the undedicated, or I got used to it. However, I liked a few of the stories, and I found some lines that really resonated with me: From Flight Patterns "He invested much of his money in socially responsible funds. Imagine that! Imagine choosing to trust your money with companies that supposedly made their millions through ethical means. Imagine the breathtaking privilege of such a choice." And from The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above "I don't understand her, not then or now. She's a contradiction. She has always contained multitudes."
Well, I only made it thru the 4th story. That is all I care to read. I didn't like any of the stories and I didn't care for the writing. It appears that I am definitely in the minority here but I thought the 4 stories that I did read were awful. The sexual references seemed to just be thrown in simply to show that he could and didn't seem to me to add anything of any value to any of the stories I did manage to read. I have absolutely no desire to read any more of this book. Maybe someone in one of my book clubs can convince me otherwise and if so, maybe I'll put this one on a different shelf but if not I will be more than happy to give this one back.
Alexie is a very funny man, if you are not too thin skinned about being an "Anglo" (not his term). He also gives us insights into lives of very unusual people that we might not notice around us. I'm not a short story fan and this isn't his very best work, but any Alexie is pretty darn good, for the above reasons.
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