'Class warrior in the literary world': Alexie and Walter in the New Yorker


Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter are high-powered names, and they know it. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Alexie’s breakthrough book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, the two writers exchange thoughts in the New Yorker about mullets, poverty, shame, God and identity:

Alexie: My mullet said to the literary world, “Hello, you privileged prep-school assholes, I’m here to steal your thunder, lightning, and book sales.”
Walter: To my shame now, I grew up embarrassed about being blue-collar, a first-generation college student, a nineteen-year-old father. We usually think of passing in terms of race, but people try to pass as another class, too. I did that.

The occasion is an anniversary, so the point is reminiscing. But the whole thing (it’s not too long) begs for a follow-up about what’s happened since: success, praise, how to attend New Yorker parties and become an esteemed denizen of the literary world without losing where you’re from.

Read the whole conversation (and see the mullet photo) here