Cowboys and East Indians has won a High Plains Book Award and the 2014 PEN Open Book Award!
From the PEN Judges’ Citation:
“In Cowboys and East Indians, Nina McConigley gives us Wyoming precisely the way we expect it—in landscape, sky, and animal life—and in ways we don’t. The inhabitants of this surprising, thrilling, and richly textured short story collection are unpredictable, both in their actions and identities. A cross-dresser, a kleptomaniacal foreign exchange student, a disabled mother, and others share a domestic setting—featuring trailers that look like dollhouses, motels whose rooms are identical, no matter the city they’re in—reflecting the stuckness and wanderlust of the collection’s characters, who are insider/outsiders in every sense. In these stories, McConigley has shaped a work destined to be a classic, like Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Its characters—Indians in America, Americans in India, and Indian-Americans in both places—echo Vonnegut’s statement that “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” It’s electrifying to be out on the edge with this book.”
Cowboys and East Indians is available from fine independent bookstores. You can order it now from Amazon or Powell’s Books.
Praise for Cowboys and East Indians
“McConigley’s deft prose takes people who don’t quite fit, who are not supposed to fit, and makes them part of the landscape…McConigley writes about Wyoming with the same mythic nostalgia that many Southern writers write about the South.”
– The Los Angeles Review of Books
The real achievement is the author’s mix of hilarity and intelligence. A fresh and insightful read.
– O Magazine
“What I love about this collection of stories is its wit and warmth. McConigley’s characters are “the wrong kind of Indians living in Wyoming,” and their struggles as exoticized and denigrated community members could be, in a less interesting writer’s hands, yet another scolding tract on America’s guilty conscience. Instead, this book celebrates human pluck and humor, a new sensibility for a new time, when everyone is both at home and utterly alien in the contemporary American west. A terrific read.”
– Antonya Nelson, author of Bound and Nothing Right
“In this collection, McConigley understands the ways in which a place can unsteady and also shape us, and the stories reveal such grace and understated power that you know you are in the presence of an incredible new voice in fiction. And, like the best writers, she knows the exact moment to let wildness rush into the story and ruin us. I loved this book, every story a perfect piece of an amazing landscape.”
– Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang and Tunneling to the Center of the Earth
“Beautiful, startling, poignant, Nina McConigley’s stories invite us into a seldom-depicted landscape, peopled by characters we’ll remember a long time, transfixed as they are between worlds, and racked by unnameable desires.”
– Chitra Divakaruni, author of Oleander Girl and One Amazing Thing
“Nina McConigley crafts out of the Wyoming landscape a West few readers have known before–a place where, when you don’t look like everyone else, there aren’t many places to hide. And yet anyone who has ever felt a complicated kind of love for home, country, and family will find pleasure and wisdom in these stunning stories.”
– Eleanor Henderson, author of Ten Thousand Saints
“You don’t often read a book that shows you the world you think you know in a wholly unexpected light. Nina McConigley, a wonderful young writer, has given us a fresh and wise view of a new world–at turns delightful and sad, but surprising at every turn. I love this work, and I know it begins a fine career. Highly recommended.”
– Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America and The Devil’s Highway