With equal precision and grit, this gripping novel unfolds the surreal consequences of a moment of kindness—and yields a rich and compassionate portrait of a man seeking redemption.
Every winter, Tommy Jack McMorsey makes the long haul from Texas to northern Minnesota to watch the meteor showers. One cold night in Bismarck, in a moment of kindness, Tommy Jack picks up a Japanese tourist determined to find the buried ransom money from the movie Fargo. When she dies of exposure while in Tommy Jack’s care, a media storm erupts, jarring loose pieces of Tommy Jack’s past: the horrors of Vietnam, a love affair, and the suicide of his closest friend, Fred Howkowski.
Extra Indians wends between a string of haunting memories and the present: Tommy Jack’s aimless life as truck driver and husband, Fred’s thwarted career as an actor in Hollywood, and the return of Tommy Jack’s estranged adoptive son to Big Antler, Texas. Exploring the ways images, stereotypes, and depictions of identity intersect with reality and lived experience, Extra Indians offers a powerful glimpse into contemporary American Indian life from the winner of the PEN Oakland Award.
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Praise and Prizes
“Since the appearance of his first book, Eric Gansworth has been an indefatigable chronicler of the infinite lives of Upstate New York’s Indian communities.”
“Exemplary. Eric Gansworth delivers a messy and satisfying resolution. Longtime readers will recognize some characters from his previous work, but the discoveries in this novel will delight new readers even more.”
“Eric Gansworth’s look at youthful folly and the damage that violence begets is fully drawn and beautifully written, almost ballad-like with its rueful tone.”
“Eric Gansworth has given us a beautiful story of the intersection of truth and fiction, family and forgiveness, and the inability to forgive. Grippingly told. A powerful story.”
“Eric Gansworth will surely garner comparisons to Sherman Alexie for his wry wit and compassionate voice, but his ability to dissect multiple hearts in a single pierce, his precise reconstruction of each lost soul into something new and pure, sets him apart. This is familial redemption at its finest, which is to say agonizingly complex and wholly engaging.”
“In exploring who his characters believe they are versus who they may really be, Eric Gansworth says as much about the constitution of family and America as he does about the construction of identity and the world. Spanning the war in Vietnam, life on the rez, and the Coen brothers’ Fargo, Extra Indians is both rollicking and tenderhearted.”