The Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems

by Sherman Alexie

Paperback, 1992

Call number



Hanging Loose Press (1992), Edition: 1st, 84 pages


A collection of 5 short stories and 40 poems focusing on life on a Native American reservation in eastern Washington state, "that deals comically and poignantly with basketball, convenience stores, cars and other artifacts of everyday life"--New York Times, Notable Books of the Year 1992, December 6, 1992.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
I'm totally not trying to hack on native writing, here or anywhere. Nor am I hacking on free post-secondary education for natives, which I absolutely support. I am merely noting that if you are interested in being a writer and can go to school for as long as you want for free, then it seems obvious
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to start with, like, an MFA; and this is neither the time or the place to dwell on the mewling sameness that creative-writing programs churn out, but anyone who has been through one will know what I'm talking about.

Sherman Alexie is a bracing antidote to all that. This is down-on-the-reserve shit, and fuckin' damn right, right? People need that in their faces, delivered by someone who isn't in it to shock or appall, just to quietly say "this is how it is", and even more quietly, at the end: "justify it. I dare you." And so when he does get shocking, like with the awful story about the kid in the house full of fireworks, it doesn't come across as sensationalistic or exploitative. It comes across as cold and angry as a blade. But those aren't the moments that stick with you, really, nevertheless. It's the moments of helplessness: I vanished into the implications of that bit right at the start, that could have served as an epigram: "Every highway in the world crosses some reservation, cuts it in half."

Colonial logic. We think we're so beyond it, but here are the people still bound by its visible concrete chains. Give them the waste land, then put a federal highway across it. This land is so bountiful and we were so greedy; and in Alexie I see a tempered warrior--someone who might have been a bit wild, once, a bit self-destructive, with that black pit inside--someone who found his voice and direction, I'll even say his cause, but remembered that he was Crazy Horse inside, and needed to stay that way. The Crazy Horse references fly thick and fast. Someone who learned reflection, melancholy, even the uses of same as weapons too. Someone who shows us pain, and dares us to justify it. That's a warrior if anyone is. Noble and sad.
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LibraryThing member mirrani
A short book full of poems and stories centered on modern life around the reservation. There are times when the writing is deep and emotional, times when it is laid back and thoughtful and times when the story is only that; a story told to those who are listening. It is all very modern-creative
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type writing with a deeper meaning settled somewhere within, but it is all so beautifully done that you might just find yourself revisiting the book again and again. You might even have a different experience each time you do, but it will always be a wonderful journey.
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LibraryThing member cedargrove
Poems and Stories to Connect with the Soul

It is hard to know where to begin in a review of this collection of stories and poems evocative of the life and culture of the Native American people in today's society; life on the reservation, simply to say that the writing is fantastic... excellent and
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opens up your heart and soul to the myriad emotions held up like a mirror, right in your face.

The language used is both poetic and earthy, uncomfortable at times, and yet makes you listen, draws you in and connects with you on a level that is deeply emotional, almost visceral and presents the subjects of his writing in a way that we cannot ignore or gloss over. Excellent writing, both in the stories and poems leaves us thinking deeply on all that we have read, and heard.
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LibraryThing member over.the.edge
The Business Of Fancy Dancing: Stories and Poems
By Sherman Alexie
Hanging Loose Press

Published in 1992, selling over 10,000 copies, this is a collection of poems, many which have previously been published. Sherman Alexies writing is always Native American based, his undeniable talent for
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language, usage of words always make his work hard to put down. His sense of humor is excellent, I find myself laughing or chuckling out loud frequently and makes his work even more engaging. It brings his fable like stories to point.
Fancy dancing is competitive pow wow dancing created by Native Americans veterans from WW II as a form of entertainment. Newer cultures and fashion styles often compete with the elder more traditional dances.
This collection tells of the constant struggle with his feelings of powerlessness growing up in a white man's world. His humorous but purposeful poems are unforgettable. Check him out.
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LibraryThing member H.A.Byrd
Sherman Alexie is a talented writer who has a lot to teach non-Indians about Indians and also to point out things to Indians about themselves. Oh,and all of us humans can reflect on the trials of human nature here,too.

LibraryThing member robertbruceferguson
A hodgepodge of poems and other writings. I don't get his popularity.




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