Victor’s father, who’s unnamed in the book, is an alcoholic and a complicated force throughout these stories. He drives much of the narrative, though he’s not always present—or alive. Alexie himself has claimed that the book is about “love and hate” between fathers and sons, and through our glimpses of Victor’s relationship with his father, we see a complicated bond evolve as it grows and changes over the years. After a devastating motorcycle accident in which he is hospitalized, Victor’s father tells Victor that he “ain’t interested in what’s real; [he’s] interested in how things should be.” Victor is mesmerized by his father’s stories, but perturbed by the volatile relationship his parents share; when his father leaves, it seems to be almost a relief. Victor at various turns idolizes and reviles his father, and all the love and sadness and failure he represents.