“Rez…urb…rez…urb,” he said, pacing the stage. Which is he?
His inner battle is apparent in earlier works, particularly the 1998 novel, Indian Killer, a raging literary colonoscopy about a Native serial murderer. Whereas creating a revenge story may have been cathartic for the young author, it was ugly—scoping someone’s bowels is not a pleasant sensory experience—and this desire to strike back is a recurrent theme in most of his writing. It is a dance, or to borrow from Alexie directly, a "fancydance" that has arguably limited his artistic growth.
Until now. The story of Arnold in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian finally releases his guilt for actually succeeding in the mainstream world. Alexie can now comfortably acknowledge he’s made it; he has a loving family and wondrously fulfilling career. Despite the virulent racism; despite all the obstacles and people who told him there was no way in hell a sick, poor Indian kid with alcoholic parents could do it.