Sherman Alexie's Flight presents the journey of an orphaned teenager, Zits, as he inhabits the mind of various individuals throughout history. When I say inhabit, he literally enters the consciousness of various people, each representing an element in Zits's complex history. The narrative tunnels into the thoughts of various people over time, individual stories that history has overlooked. It gives voice to people and highlights the ethical dilemmas that defined them, while shedding light on the complexity of American history. The novel foregrounds the way stories can bring recognition and return voice, a self-awareness of the way literature functions in the world.
However, this self-awareness does not take the shape of historiographic metafiction like other postmodern texts. The narrator does not reflect upon the construct of the text, nor does he present an awareness of the act of writing. Flight enacts the process of reading through the narrator, Zits, who supernaturally experiences the actions and is privy to the thoughts of other individuals, while remaining conscious of his own thoughts as well. As Zits puts it, "I can fall so far inside a person, inside his memories, that I can play them like a movie." Or, as I am arguing, read them like a book.
Headlines for August 27, 2014 | Democracy Now!
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