Building Stories - Chris Ware
Blasphemy - Sherman Alexie
I have been a Sherman Alexie fan ever since I read The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. I thought then, and still think, that more people should read his work. Blasphemy, (Grove, $27), a collection of new and previously published stories, is a great place to start if you have yet to discover this uniquely gifted writer. I find his stories by turns beautiful, poetic, heartbreaking, funny, scary, and real. His work is always salted with a good dash of anger—he grew up on the Spokane Indian reservation and his work reflects this experience. Alexie never backs down from the harsh realities of life on the reservation, but there is always poetry there, too (and Alexie has also published several collections of poems). His characters are often self-effacing and ravaged by deprivation, hunger, alcoholism, but are beautiful nonetheless. Alexie is a master at mixing the beautiful with the profane—and that is the essence of Blasphemy.