Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cheyenne Madonna in Publishers Weekly

click to buy Cheyenne Madonna from the Black Sparrow website

“In seven interconnected stories Native American author Chuculate pursues the painful self-discovery of a Creek / Cherokee youth trying to distance himself from his family's chronic drinking, impoverishment, and racism. In ‘YoYo,’ Jordan, the dreamy protagonist of most of the stories, finds his myopic world abruptly pried open by the appearance of an older, and dazzlingly fast, black girl named YoYo. In ‘A Famous Indian Artist,’ Jordan describes the disintegration of his admiration for his uncle, Johnson Freebird, the only relative he has who has lived a creative life. In ‘Dear Shorty,’ Jordan depicts his alcoholic father, Shorty, in shockingly unsparing and unsentimental terms; after first following disastrously in his footsteps, Jordan achieves stature as an artist, yet continues to try to connect with his father, even after it's too late. Chuculate writes forthright prose in a somber key, examining without judgment the lives of Native American characters like Old Bull, a Cheyenne who, in ‘Galveston Bay, 1826,’ the collection's one stand-alone story, ventures out to see the ocean for the first time, only to get savaged by a hurricane. Memory and will converge here to powerful effect.” — Publishers Weekly

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