Reviews in 200 Words

Flight by Sherman Alexie

In Novel on August 6, 2010 at 2:04 am

We know how to feel about Sherman Alexie. He’s a god; not the god, I don’t think, but a god. Flight opens with a rebellious teenager, Zits, explaining his half-breed background (Indian and Irish). We can only imagine what this kid looks like. Zits considers committing a horribly violent act, involving a gun. The release of this book came just a day before the Virginia Tech shooting, which gives it an eerily prophetic tone. As usual, Alexie makes us comfortable by driving the stereotypes home, and with humor. Zits is not “legally” an Indian because he’s an orphan–he never met his alcoholic father–and is on a hunt for his identity. But this isn’t a sappy coming-of-age thing; if it fits into any category (which it doesn’t) it might be sci-fi. And don’t let that turn you off. Alexie sells traveling through time the way a good bartender winks you into sticking around for another. It just works. Zits visits key (violent) moments in American history and returns to his own life having literally “walked a mile in someone else’s shoes.” Yet, somehow Alexie manages to make it all subtle: manages to slap you in the face (pretty hard) with reality while you’re still laughing at his sarcasm. 

-Micah Ling


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