With unparalleled insight into the minds of artists, laborers, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change. In a bicoastal journey through the consequences of both simple and monumental life choices, Alexie introduces us to these personal worlds as they transform beyond return. In the title story, a famous writer must decide how to care for his distant father who is slowly dying a “natural Indian death” from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor. Alexie dissects a vintage-clothing store owner’s failing marriage and his subsequent courtship of a married photographer in various airports across the country; what happens when a politician’s son commits an unforgivable hate crime; and how a young boy learns his self-worth while writing for the obituary department of his local newspaper.
Brazen, and wise, War Dances takes us to the heart of what it means to be human. The new beginnings, successes, mistakes, and regrets that make up our daily lives are laid bare in this wide-ranging and provocative new work that is Alexie at the height of his powers.