Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Black Sun Rising / La Corazonada

A novel / una novela

by Barry Gifford


Bilingual Edition - Translated by Laura Emilia Pacheco

The first Western noir by Barry Gifford, "a killer fuckin' writer." (David Lynch)

Based on historical events in 1851, this Western noir novella traces the struggle of the first integrated Native American tribe to establish themselves on the North American continent. After escaping the Oklahoma relocation camps they had been placed in following their forced evacuation from Florida, the Seminole Indians banded with fugitive slaves from the American South to fulfill the vision of their leader, Coyote, to establish their land in Mexico's Nacimiento. The Mexican government allowed them initially to settle in Mexico near the Texas-Mexico border, in exchange for guarding nearby villages from bands of raiding Comanches and Apaches.

On the Texas side of the border, a romance begins between Teresa, daughter of former Texas Ranger and slavehunter Cass Dupuy, and Sunny, son of the great Seminole chief Osceola. Teresa's father, a violent man, has heard about the fugitive slaves settled on the other side of the border and plans to profit from them. As the story progresses, multiple actors come into play, forming alliances or declaring each other enemy, as the Seminoles struggle to fulfill captain Coyote's corazonada to find their own land. Black Sun Rising is a poetic story which brings to light a little-known but important chapter in American and Mexican history and will be simultaneously published in Mexico by Almadía. One of America's greatest novelists and a tireless innovator whose oeuvre spans fiction, autobiography, oral history, and short fiction, Barry Gifford is now venturing into the genre of Western, breaking new ground by infusing it with his signature noir style.


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“Gifford wrote this short novel early in his career, envisioning it as a movie in the great tradition of Ford, Hawks, and Peckinpah, but westerns weren't being made then, and the story languished; it is now published for the first time in a bilingual edition. It's a compelling tale on multiple levels, as an action-filled western and an unconventional love story, but especially as a vivid recounting of the fascinating history of the Seminole Indians, the legendary warrior tribe who, forced to evacuate their Florida homeland, united with fugitive slaves from the South called Mascogos to form the first integrated Native American tribe in North America. The action picks up in 1851 as the Seminoles are camped in Mexico, near the Texas-Mexico border, negotiating with the Mexican government to be granted land in the state of Coahuila as their own. But before that can happen, the Seminoles must deal with a band of slave hunters led by former Texas Ranger Cass Dupuy, whose daughter, Teresa, has run off with Sonny Osceola, son of the revered Seminole chief Osceola. Gifford brings his signature noir flair to the story, but also draws effectively on classic western themes, evoking Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, in particular, while giving life to the moving exodus story of the Seminoles and Mascogos in search of a home. It's not too late for that movie.”

“A breezy, cinematic Western, one that's touches on deeper themes of empire and race, but never forgets to be entertaining.”

“A noir Western full of heart that explores a unique time in American history, Black Sun Rising / La Corazonada is a book that goes above and beyond an action narrative with historical elements: this is a bilingual book that celebrates diversity while showing Gifford is a master storyteller regardless of the genre or story he decides to tackle. . . As with anything by Gifford, this book is worth a read because it takes adventure and violence and wraps them around characters that feel real, so empathy is almost immediate. The breakneck speed of the narrative and the rich historical details are just icing on the cake. Furthermore, making this a bilingual edition was a great idea that hopefully will bring Gifford to new readers both here and in Mexico, where the book was published by Editorial Almadía. While all the directors Gifford had in mind when he started writing the novel were either dead or retired by the time he had finished it, Black Sun Rising / La Corazonada could easily translate to the big screen, and I hope someone makes it happen. In the meantime, go read it. Gifford is one of the best storytellers of our time.”

“These stories make for one of the most important and moving American bildungsromans of all time.”


The author of more than forty works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into over twenty-five languages, BARRY GIFFORD writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels, Gifford’s writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. Born in the Seneca Hotel on Chicago’s Near North Side, he relocated in his adolescence to New Orleans. The move proved significant: throughout his career, Gifford’s fiction—part-noir, part-picaresque, always entertaining—is born of the clash between what he has referred to as his “Northern Side” and “Southern Side.” Gifford has been recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His novel Wild at Heart was adapted into the 1990 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name. His novels include Black Sun Rising / La Corazonada, Wyoming, The Sinaloa Story, Port Tropique, Memories from a Sinking Ship, Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, Landscape with Traveler, and The Up-Down. His short stories and poetry are collected in American Falls, Do the Blind Dream?, The Cuban Club, Imagining Paradise. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Other books by Barry Gifford