The Toughest Indian in the World

by Sherman Alexie

Hardcover, 2000

Call number




Atlantic Monthly Press (2000), Edition: 1st, 238 pages


"Stunning" short stories by the National Book Award-winning author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).   In this bestselling volume of stories, National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie challenges readers to see Native American Indians as the complex, modern, real people they are. The tender and tenacious tales of The Toughest Indian in the World introduce us to the one-hundred-eighteen-year-old Etta Joseph, former co-star and lover of John Wayne, and to the unnamed narrator of the title story, a young Indian journalist searching for togetherness one hitchhiker at a time. Countless other brilliant creations leap from Alexie's mind in these nine stories. Upwardly mobile Indians yearn for a more authentic life, married Indian couples push apart while still cleaving together, and ordinary, everyday Indians hunt for meaning in their lives. The Toughest Indian in the World combines anger, humor, and beauty into radiant fictions, fiercely imagined, from one of America's greatest writers.   This ebook features an illustrated biography including rare photos from the author's personal collection.  … (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member shawnr
Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite writers. I enjoy the majority of his work, from his poetry to fiction to the films based on his stories. Alexie is my kind of artist and provocateur. That’s part of why I think I didn’t enjoy the collection Toughest Indian in the World.

In this collection,
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Alexie’s stories tend more than ever to the standard-issue “lit-fic” genre: Relatively successful people, sometimes with relatively unsuccessful relatives, living disaffected lives and/or searching for the thing that will give meaning to their worlds beyond the good job and beautiful wife.

Alexie offers up adultery, homosexuality, and some strained ethnic/racial divisions to spice up the literary mag approach, but somehow it doesn’t all come together. These stories lack the verve of Alexie’s other work. They lack the rhythm of his poetry and the political undercurrent of his film adaptations. They are just not quite up to expectations.

Again, this collection is not bad enough to put me off Alexie for good, but it’s not one of his best.
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LibraryThing member justjill
Liked most of the stories, but felt a little too much like something you'd be forced to read in school.
LibraryThing member allison.sivak
I started to read this as a novel, not short stories, so I followed a different mind-map of where I thought it was all leading. I particularly loved the title story, and "Saint Junior." "Saint Junior" felt like a beautiful sense of Indian family and love, different than any other I have read. Sexy
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and real.
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LibraryThing member ljhliesl
These stories, though well-written and often humorous, are too sad to read when your sister has just died.
LibraryThing member alissagreer
I am a huge Sherman Alexie fan, however this book caught me by surprise. It was stark, poignant and relayed the kind of truth only found in fiction. The characters are sympathetic and strong. The collection is inspirational, if only for revealing and coddling our weaknesses as mere human beings.
LibraryThing member viviennestrauss
The last story in this collection was my favorite, One Good Man. Several of these stories were also in "Blasphemy" which overall I enjoyed a lot more.
LibraryThing member msf59
“Like a good Indian, he knew when to talk and when to remain silent. Like a good Indian, he knew there was never a good time to talk.”

“world. Put down your fucking guns and pick up your kids.”

“I'm not exactly racist. I like white people as a theory; I'm just not crazy about them in
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“Son, if your going to marry a white woman, then marry a rich one, because those white-trash women are just indians with bad haircuts.”

I am going to let these quotes serve as a review, because I think they capture Alexie's voice better than my inarticulate ramblings. This is another strong story collection, from one of America's singular voices. Tales about working class indians and the down-trodden and disillusioned. Funny, thoughtful and heart-breaking. You want a snap-shot of the modern American Indian? Seek this one out, along with The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and you will be enlightened.
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LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
I've been in a crush-on-Sherman-Alexie haze ever since reading Ten Little Indians a few months ago, so I turned to this for another fix. I'm not entirely impressed so far (although "South by Southwest" is awesome). I know I'll pick it up again sometime later.
LibraryThing member juliechabon
How it is to live in a society that dehumanizes you, and survive. Basically surviving even when things seem to be going well.
I did not finish reading it because I coudn't take another sad story. This is today's story of our toxic relation with native americans.
LibraryThing member Whisper1
Alexie is one of my favorite YA authors. His images are crisp and his writing is excellent.

Imagine my excitement in finding a new publication written by him, and then the sheer disappointment in reading his attempt at short story writing.

Previous works such as The Absolutely True Diary of a
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Part-Time Indian and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven are stellar and four star worthy.

While there are some stories that hold true to Alexie's style and superiority, overall, I ended feeling that this medium simply didn't work for the author.

There appeared to be too much unnecessary sexual content, leaving me to wonder if Alexie thinks that writing for an adult audience equates to the need for vulgarity.

What a shame...What an utter shame!
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