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Talking Volumes: Sherman Alexie

Sept. 14
7 p.m.

Mothers get a bad rap in memoir, and Sherman Alexie’s new book, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, is no exception. But just because his mother, Lillian, struggled—with alcoholism, with poverty, with violent tendencies—doesn’t mean she didn’t teach her son a thing or two about sacrifice, perseverance, and the importance of cultural heritage. As Alexie retraces his path back to childhood on the Spokane Indian Reservation, both cruel and tender memories of his mother emerge: how she quilted to pay the bills, how she patiently waited for her wandering husband to come home, how she once knocked Alexie out with a full can of pop to the head. Lillian could be abominable, but she also survived unconscionable circumstances. Alexie grapples with the challenge of forgiving his mother in this lyrical yet gut-wrenching read. You’d be wise to catch Alexie in conversation with Kerri Miller as part of Talking Volumes at the Fitzgerald Theater on Thursday because he’s canceled much of the rest of his book tour due to a resurgence of grief and depression.