The Dialogue Society Book Group – Meeting 37: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Free to Attend


In this session of the Dialogue Society Book Group, we will explore The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie on Wednesday, 22nd September 2021.


The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven is a 1993 collection of interconnected short stories by Sherman Alexie. Comprised of twenty-two stories with recurring characters, the work is often described by critics as a short-story collection, though some argue that it has novel-like features. The book’s central characters, Victor Joseph and Thomas Builds-the-Fire are two young Native-American men living on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and the stories describe their relationships, desires, and histories with family members and others who live on the reservation. Alexie fuses surreal imagery, flashbacks, dream sequences, diary entries, and extended poetic passages with his storytelling to create tales that resemble prose poems more than conventional narratives. The characters and stories in the book, particularly “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona”, provided the basis of Alexie’s screenplay for the film Smoke Signals.

So wide-ranging dexterous and consistently capable of raising your neck hair that it enters at once into our ideas of who we are and who we might be

New York Times Book Review

I laughed and laughed and I couldn’t stop reading …Sherman Alexie is simply one of the best new writers we have

Leslie Marmon Silko


  • Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award: Best First Book of Fiction Citation Winner
  • Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award
  • Washington State Governor’s Writers Award
  • The Best American Short Stories 1994

About the Dialogue Society Book Group

The Dialogue Society Book Group explores the capacity of books to provide windows into different cultural and intercultural worlds. We will be choosing a series of quality novels to read and then to discuss together at relaxed, sociable gatherings at the Dialogue Society. Participants are welcome to suggest books for future sessions.

Participants will need to find a copy of the book chosen for each meeting and will need to read it prior to the meeting.

We will have a conversation about the book and our responses to it. Discussion may cover:

  • the quality of the storytelling
  • the authenticity and accuracy with which a historical/cultural situation is portrayed
  • our personal responses to it

You do not need to be an expert on literature or anything else to join in. The group should be enjoyable for anyone who enjoys a good book and likes discovering new ones.