Winner of the American Book Award and a critically acclaimed national best seller, Reservation Blues continues to find new and adoring readers in academic and popular circles alike. In 1931, Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil, receiving legendary blues skills in return. He went on to record only twenty-nine songs before being murdered on August 16, 1938. In 1992, however, Johnson suddenly reappears on the Spokane Indian Reservation and meets Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the misfit storyteller of the Spokane Tribe. When Johnson passes his enchanted instrument to Thomas—lead singer of the rock-and-roll band Coyote Springs—a magical odyssey begins that will take the band from reservation bars to small-town taverns, from the cement trails of Seattle to the concrete canyons of Manhattan.
Sherman Alexie imaginatively mixes narrative, newspaper excerpts, songs, journal entries, visions, radio interviews, and dreams to explore the effects of Christianity on Native Americans in the late twentieth century. In addition, he examines the impact of cultural assimilation on the relationships between Indian women and Indian men. Reservation Blues is a painful, humorous, and ultimately redemptive symphony about God and indifference, faith and alcoholism, family and hunger, sex and death.