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The theme of Alcoholism in Sherman Alexie

            Sherman Alexie was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d"Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation Wellpinit, Washington. He learned to read at age three, and was reading books such as John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath at age five. As a teenager, he decided to attend high school in Reardan, Washington. As it says on his website, ShermanAlexie.com, he was "the only Indian.except for the school mascot." At Reardan, he was a good student and athlete, becoming a star on the basketball team. After graduation, he attended Gonzaga University in Spokane on a scholarship. Unfortunately it was at this time that he began to have troubles with alcohol, which may help to explain why this theme is prominent in several of his stories. After two years there, he transferred to Washington State University. Eventually he stumbled onto a poetry workshop at WSU, and with the encouragement of his teacher, excelled at writing. He then decided to make writing his new career choice. Shortly after graduating from WSU, he received the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship in 1991 and the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1992. Not long after, two of his poetry collections, The Business of Fancydancing and I Would Steal Horses were published. After these were published, he immediately gave up drinking. His first collection of short stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, was published by Atlantic Monthly Press in 1993. For his collection he received a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book of Fiction, and was awarded a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. Reservation Blues was published in 1995, and Indian Killer followed in 1996. Both have won numerous awards.
             Indian Killer, by Sherman Alexie, was published in 1996. In this novel, a serial killer is on the loose in Seattle, Washington, scalping his victims, and leaving behind two bloody owl feathers, the Native American symbol for death.

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