Cheyenne Madonna

by Eddie Chuculate

David R. Godine/Black Sparrow Press

Winner of the PEN/O’Henry Award

“Every sentence is unexpected, yet infallible.... The calm, beautiful, unexplaining accuracy of description carries us right through the madness of the final adventure.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness

“Memory and will converge here to powerful effect… complex, thought provoking, and darkly funny.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“An amazing, moving debut… rich, thoughtful, eloquent and honest.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“An astonishing debut.”
Kirkus Reviews 

About the Book

One stormy night in 1826, just north of Galveston Bay, Old Bull, a Cheyenne Indian who had just seen the ocean for the first time, found himself trying to outrace a hurricane. Lifted from his horse, spun around, and thrown down in the bayou, Old Bull rode the current into a small canyon, and survived. He was the only one of his party to return from the expedition, arriving home nearly naked, nearly hallucinating, riding a horse.

Such is the auspicious beginning to the life of Jordan Coolwater, a distant relation to Old Bull, whom we meet as a boy in the 1970s, shooting turtles on a summer day, and being raised by his grandparents on Creek Indian land in the house of his great-great-grandfather, a survivor of the Trail of Tears. Bearing the burden of his ancestry, Jordan Coolwater –from bored young boy, to thoughtful teenager, struggling artist, escaped convict, and finally, father –is the subject of Eddie Chuculate’s prize-winning collection of linked short stories. The first story in the collection, Galveston Bay, 1826, won an O'Henry Prize, and the second, Yo Yo, received a Pushcart Prize Special Mention.

Reminiscent of Denis Johnson's Jesus's Son, Chuculate's gritty, deceptively simple stories also recall Junot Diaz and Sherman Alexie. This is not only a portrait of a young Native American artist struggling with the two constants in his life, alcohol and art, but also a portrait of America, of its dispossessed, its outlaws, and its visionaries.

About the Author

Eddie Chuculate is an American fiction writer of Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee descent. He is the recipient of a BA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. Chuculate won a PEN/O. Henry Award for his story, "Galveston Bay, 1826," and his stories have appeared in Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, and other publications.