April 25, 2007

Zits reminiscent of Cho

Time-Traveling Lessons for a Teenager on the VergeEchoing the tragic events last week at Virginia Tech, Sherman Alexie’s latest novel, “Flight,” features a young, edgy outcast named Zits on the verge of colossal violence. Mr. Alexie is no stranger to this brand of gutsy writing. With 17 volumes of fiction and poetry to his name, he has established an impressive literary reputation as a bold writer who goes straight for the aorta. He is in the business of making his readers laugh and cry. And his most recent novel is no exception.

The reader meets Zits one morning when he is counting the pimples on his face (47 in all) in front of the bathroom mirror at the home of his newest set of foster parents. From the get-go, Mr. Alexie lets the reader in on the messy interior life of this marginalized teenager: “I’m dying from about ninety-nine kinds of shame. I’m ashamed of being fifteen years old. And being tall. And skinny. And ugly. I’m ashamed that I look like a bag of zits tied to a broomstick. I wonder if loneliness causes acne. I wonder if being Indian causes acne.”

After Zits lands in a juvenile jail in the Central District of Seattle for the umpteenth time, he meets a white, pretty-boy anarchist named Justice, who schools him on how to take his sorry life into his own hands. Instead of opening fire on bystanders in a crowded bank, as Justice wanted, Zits finds himself on a time-traveling journey that traverses multiple centuries and transforms his worn-out soul in unexpected ways.

3 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Maybe the USS Sherman Alexie even came up with a song for Zits that would encompass Cho, the Va Tech killer:
"Oh, I'm turning Chosonese,
And I like it,
I'm turning Chosonese*,
And I like it..."
Want the MP3?
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'
*The name Koreans call themselves...

Rob said...

I already have "Turning Japanese" on my PC, so I don't need "Turning Chosonese."

russell said...

Writerfella here --
What it means is that one can choose the particular race and then make hay out of grasses that were not there until that moment of choice. The USS Sherman Alexie himself likely would tell you that he was creating a character for his story, and that he was not creating a situation where life imitated art or one where art imitated life. Science fiction mostly warns but does not predict, for if it did, the next asteroid would not be that far away in time...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'