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emems *~ ?? ~V»=-¿ T/te Ione Ranger and Tonto Fistfìght in Heaven by Sherman Alexie Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993, 240 pp., $21 Sherman Alexie, one of the second generation of Native American novelists and poets, has written a book you wish would never end. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, his first novel, is a story about life on and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. The characters, like Thomas Builds-theFire , an outcast medicine man who cannot keep silent, tell stories that become as real to us as the one Alexie tells about his main characters . We find ourselves spinning round and round in a world made of stories, where fabrications become truths through repetition and characters live in the language of others. Everything becomes a story to be told again and again-the newest basketball phenomenon, the latest drug, who's back from Seattle, and who's pregnant by whom. It is community gossip that keeps everyone connected against the various forces of the white world that threaten them. Alexie's voice is taut, controlled and wonderfuUy lyric. He focuses on the poetic details of landscape and character that exempUfy the bitterness of reservation life, while they stand as emblems of hope and endurance. As Victor, perhaps the one "real" protagonist, says, "That's how I do this life sometimes by making the ordinary just like magic." Shadow Hunter by WiU Baker Pocket Books, 1993, 373 pp., $21 Begun as an object lesson for writing students hooked on hi-tech SF, dark-world fantasy, and politico -conspiracy thrillers, Will Baker's most recent novel quickly outstrips the conventions of genre and moves into the dark and fertile places of uninhibited imagination. The year is 2132 and nature is a museum piece, confined to preserves and wastelands where ancient radioactive garbage smolders. Dreamy and gifted Ronald Drager, on a rite-ofpassage hunting trip with his father, encounters disaster. He takes refuge with the Ginks, a mutant race that faintly remembers the power of rockenroll and instinct. Under their tutelage, Ronnie burrows back into his hidden self, unaware that the political and natural forces activated by his disappearance have set in motion a series of events that will ultimately redefine the relationship of human beings with the world they live in. Baker's convincing detail, coupled with a lively sense of humor and irony, unites the disparate elements The Missouri Review · 209 of his tale into a cohesive whole, drawing the reader into a cold-sweat nightmare as real as tomorrow's headlines. Love and Friendship by AUan Bloom Simon and Schuster, 1993, 590 pp., $25 The late AUan Bloom's bestknown effort is the controversial The Closing of the American Mind, but Bloom also served as a translator and editor of Plato's Republic and Rousseau's Emile. These books provide the groundwork for Love and Friendship, an erudite yet impassioned "attempt to recover the power , the danger, and the beauty of eros under the tutelage of its proper leaders and knowers, the poetic writers." He begins this project with a discussion of Romanticism —Rousseau's endeavor to fashion a new "bridge over the otherwise uncrossable chasm between natural and social man, between caring for oneself and caring for others." Moving from the influence of Romanticism on depictions of human relationships in the works of Stendhal, Austen, Flaubert, and Tolstoy, he turns next to Shakespeare 's presentations of the agonies and ecstasies of love. He concludes with a reconsideration of Plato's Symposium, a dialogue that is both serious discussion and jubilant celebration of "the attractions of bodies." The impetus for this big book is Bloom's concern that "isolation, a sense of lack of profound contact with other human beings, seems to be the disease of our time." In spite of the overemphasis in modern personal relationships on control and protection—on selfishness instead of generous reciprocity—the persistent longing for love and friendship is a "recognition of incompleteness and [a] need for exclusive attachment to another human being in order to attain fulfiUment." Bloom argues that science and psychology have reduced sex to just another bodily function, "stripping it of its proper adjunct notions of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 209-218
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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