Arnold Spirit, Jr., or Junior, is a fourteen-year-old boy who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington; Alexis loosely based the character on himself. Junior is a budding cartoonist who also enjoys playing basketball. Like the other members of the Coeur d’Alene tribe who live on the reservation, Junior has grown up impoverished and surrounded by alcoholism. Yet Junior strives to pursue his education and transfers to Reardan, an affluent school with a mostly white student body. As a result, he suffers from extreme alienation both at his new school and on the reservation, leading him to question where he truly belongs.
NOAH (Caller): Hi, I just wanted to add to the person who had said earlier that he had blended well laughter with violence, and I thought that Heinlein says in "Stranger in a Strange Land" that Michael Valentine Smith could never learn how to laugh until he saw something very, very painful, and only then was he able to understand why humans would laugh. And I think that oftentimes you'll find that when a person is able to best deal with violence and pain and suffering, it's the person that is able to, you know, accept that life is bad, but things are humorous at the same time.
In 1983, Granta (issue #7) published a list of 20 young British novelists as names to watch out for in the future. Since then, the magazine has repeated its recognition of emerging writers in 1993 (issue #43), 2003 (issue #81) and 2013 (issue #123). In 1996 (issue #54), Granta published a similar list of promising young American novelists, which was repeated during 2007 (issue #97). In 2010 Granta issue #113 was devoted to the best young Spanish-language novelists. Many of the selections have been prescient. At least 12 of those identified have subsequently either won or been short-listed for major literary awards such as the Man Booker Prize and Whitbread Prize .