The most disheartening aspect of this collection is the fact that, over 20 years, the jokes themselves haven’t changed. Alexie’s narrators and protagonists still see themselves as solitary outcasts on the margins of reservation life, and it shows: we hear a great deal about vodka, meth, commodity canned beef and horn-rimmed government glasses, but nothing about the intricacies of tribal politics, struggles over natural resources or efforts to preserve indigenous cultural life. Of course, a fiction writer follows the dictates of his own imagination, not any political or cultural agenda, but that’s precisely the point: Alexie’s world is a starkly limited one, and his characters’ vision of Native America, despite their sometimes crippling nostalgia, is as self-consciously impoverished as it has ever been. What began as blasphemy could now just as easily be described as a kind of arrested development. Perhaps, willingly or not, that is the lesson he’s trying to teach us.