Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite authors and Reservation Blues is my hands-down favorite so far. He has artfully woven threads of mysticism, humor, tragedy, disappointment, hope and a host of other emotions and concepts into this novel, and even a ribbon of the Battle of Greasy Grass (aka Battle at Little Big Horn).
It is the story of Coyote Springs, a rock band from the Spokane reservation who has acquired blues master Robert Johnson’s magical guitar. One would think this would solve every possible problem, but it doesn’t. The band still has to survive the prejudices and hang-ups of others on the reservation, the white world and themselves. At times, even personal baggage does not help the journey.
This was a difficult book to put down. My heart went out to the members of the band and even more so to Big Mom who only wanted to make them better musicians. It is a bittersweet story. I highly recommend this finely written novel. Great characters, strong themes and you’ll even smile – ruefully – but you’ll smile.