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Thursday Quotables – Reservation Blues

Reservation Blues (Sherman Alexie)“Shit, Junior,” Victor said. “There ain’t but two or three roads on this whole reservation, and you’re telling me we’re lost.”

“This goddamn map is useless,” Junior said. “There are all sorts of roads ain’t even on it. This road we’re on now ain’t on the map.”

“Listen,” Thomas said, “maps just give advice anyway.”

The blue van suddenly stopped at a crossroad.

“Which way?” Thomas asked because he was driving.

“I don’t know,” Victor and Junior said because they weren’t driving.

“Let’s decide in the old Indian way,” Thomas said because he tried to be as traditional as the twentieth century allowed.

“What’s that?” Victor and Junior asked because they were as contemporary as cable television.

“We’ll drive straight,” Thomas said and pointed with his lips. “Then we find a house and ask somebody for direction.”

RESERVATION BLUES by Sherman Alexie - The devil guitar comes to the Spokane Reservation #amreading Share on X

quotation-marks4One of the things I like the most about Alexie is his sense of humour. It is very quiet and it often snakes in the narration without you realising it until the very last moment, and by then you’re already laughing.

Being a funny storyteller is hard work enough, but making that humour a meaningful part of the story is even harder. In Sherman Alexie’s stories, humour creeps over the characters, their personality and not only over the situation they find themselves involved in. It sometimes creeps in between words, that’s why you don’t realise it. That’s why it is such a quiet kind of humour. It’s there because it belongs there and it doesn’t need an excuse to be there. That’s why, sometimes, Alexie can steel you a smile even while his characters are going through hard, harsh tests.

And this, in my opinion, makes his characters even stronger.


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  • Poulami
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 20:24

    I love your quote as well. Funny and humorous! :-)

    Btw, love your blog, subscribed!
    Mind following me if you like my blog? Maybee…

  • Post Author
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 22:11

    Thanks for the nice words.
    I don’t mind to follow you at all :-)

    • Poulami
      Posted March 20, 2015 at 10:39

      Oh, wow. Thanks! :-)

  • Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies
    Posted March 20, 2015 at 04:37

    More Sherman Alexie! Your selections have been such a treat, and a good reminder for me that I need to read more of his books. I love this little interlude!

    • Post Author
      Posted March 20, 2015 at 20:02

      I’m happy you’re enjoying it :-)

      Because I’m dedicating this month to him, I’ve reread many passages in his books and I’ve read new (and old) essays. I’ve also watched his two films again… and I’ve wept on both, though I’ve also laughed especially on “Smoke Signals”.

      Hey, feel free to have a look around, should you be so inclined ;-)

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