Sherman Alexie, suffering from depression, cancels his post-California book tour

Sherman Alexie in 2009.
(Kevin P. Casey / For The Times)

Sherman Alexie, the author whose recent memoir “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” chronicles his stormy relationship with his late mother, is canceling much of his book tour, citing a struggle with depression. Alexie will make appearances this week in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Menlo Park before heading home.

Alexie revealed his difficulties in a Facebook post Thursday. “I have been sobbing many times a day during this book tour,” Alexie wrote. “I have sobbed in private and I have sobbed onstage. I have been rebreaking my heart night after night. I have, to use recovery vocabulary, been retraumatizing myself.”

Alexie, whose other books include the short story collection “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and the young adult novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” said he had been seeing signs of his mother, who died two years ago, at several stops on his book tour.

“As I write in the memoir, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time,” he wrote in the Facebook post. “As I also write in the memoir, I don’t believe in magic, but I believe in interpreting coincidence exactly the way you want to.”


In an interview with The Times earlier this month, Alexie mentioned that he had seen several reminders of his mother on the tour, including in a quilt hanging in a hotel he was staying at in Boston.

“I assumed I would no longer have to deal with her and her judgment of me,” he said. “She continues to haunt me, even more so now.”

“She was sometimes cruel and often cold,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “I loved her, yes, but I sometimes hated her, too. She was brilliant, funny, beautiful, generous, vindictive, deceitful, tender, manipulative, abusive, loving, and intimidating.”

Alexie had previously canceled book tour appearances in Oklahoma and Montana while suffering a cold.

“But I also fell ill with depression,” he explained in his post. “I medicated my headcold. I quickly healed from that simple malady. But I couldn’t medicate my sadness — my complicated grief.”

Alexie is canceling all of his August appearances behind the book, and “many, but not all” of his events for the rest of the year.