Sherman Alexie wrote The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and The Toughest Indian in the World. He adapted parts of the first book into the screenplay for the 1998 feature film Smoke Signals. Flight is Alexie’s first novel in a decade. Using wit and eulogy, satire and sentimentality Alexie tells the story of an orphaned Indian boy who travels back and forth through time searching for his true identity. The book’s jacket states:
The journey for Flight‘s young hero begins as he’s about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of decision, he finds himself shot back through time to resurface in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, where he sees why “Hell is Red River, Idaho, in the 1970s.” Red River is only the first stop in an eye-opening trip through moments in American history. He will continue to travel back to inhabit the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Bighorn and then ride with an Indian tracker in the nineteenth century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. During these furious travels through time, his refrain grows: “Who’s to judge?” and “I don’t understand humans.” When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own life, he is mightily transformed by all he has seen.
I am a fan of all of Alexie’s previous work I have come across. I hope that this modern-day vision quest proves out as compellingly as it seems to promise. I suspect it will.