Every winter, Tommy Jack McMorsey watches the meteor showers in northern Minnesota. On the long haul from Texas to Minnesota, Tommy encounters a deluded Japanese tourist determined to find the buried ransom money from the movie Fargo. When the Japanese tourist dies of exposure in Tommy Jacks care, a media storm erupts and sets off a series of journeys into Tommy Jacks past as he remembers the horrors of Vietnam, a love affair, and the suicide of his closest friend, Fred Howkowski. Exploring with great insight and wit the ways images, stereotypes, and depictions intersect with, Extra Indians offers a powerful glimpse into contemporary Native American life.
Winner, American Book Award, 2011
Winner, New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) Trade Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly: 08/02/2010, Vol. 257 Issue 30, starred review. Gansworth's exemplary fourth novel begins in the arresting voice of long-haul trucker Tommy Jack McMorsey, a Vietnam vet with a lot on his mind and a dead woman outside his rig, face up in the snow. His tangential involvement in the woman's death lands him in the media spotlight, which in turns forces him to answer some uncomfortable questions about his past. Meanwhile, Annie Boans, a young scholar who traces Tommy Jack's history to the reservation of her birth, has a few questions of her own, and sets off to demand answers in person. Tommy Jack's chapters are filled with lyrical meditations on friendship, war, and love, with most of the novel's business being conducted in Boan's sections. Though some late book-plot bloat slows the momentum, Gansworth delivers a messy and satisfying resolution once Tommy Jack and Annie finally meet. Longtime readers of Gansworth will recognize some characters from his previous work (Mending Skins; etc.), but the discoveries in this novel will delight new readers even more. (Nov.)
Booklist: October 1, 2010. Making his annual trek from Texas to Minnesota, to wish on a meteor shower, truck driver Tommy Jack McMorsey aids a Japanese tourist bent on locating the ransom money depicted in the film Fargo. But the English-deficient woman, hardly prepared for the extreme cold, let alone the surprise that the film was fictional, soon disappears, resulting in a media scandal that uproots a string of Tommy Jacks darkest memories, including his days in Vietnam, his best friends suicide, and the wife he almost lost. The debacle also brings Tommy Jacks surrogate son and an American Indian woman who may or may not be his daughter to Texas in search of answers. With his fourth novel, following Mending Skins (2005), 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.
Library Journal: Gansworth, Eric. Extra Indians. Milkweed. Nov. 2010. c.272p. ISBN 9781571310798. pap. $16. F Gansworth (Mending Skins) has given us a beautiful story of the intersection of truth and fiction, family and forgiveness, and the inability to forgive. Truck driver Tommy Jack usually stays within the confines of Texas, but each winter he schedules a longer trip to watch the meteor showers. On one trip, he picks up a Japanese tourist looking for the buried treasure from the movie Fargo. When she dies of exposure at his rented cabin, Tommy Jack gets national media attentionand the attention of his long-estranged adopted son and a young woman who may be his daughter. Tommy Jack's life took its first detour in Vietnam, where he became best friends with Fred Howkowski, an American Indian from upstate New York. When the two returned stateside safely, Fred signed his young son over to Tommy Jack while he pursued a career in the movies that led to disillusionment, depression, and eventually suicide. Now, in this grippingly told work, Fred's ghost and many others are coming back to haunt Tommy Jack. VERDICT A powerful story; highly recommended for readers of popular fiction. -Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. Lib.