Sun Going Down: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

From an award-winning author whose ancestors lived the adventures in this novel comes a spectacular new epic about the American West.

Part history, part romance, and part action-adventure novel, Sun Going Down follows the fortunes of Ebenezer Paint and his descendants—rough and tough individuals who are caught up in Civil War river battles, epic cattle drives through drought and blizzards, the horrors of ...
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Sun Going Down: A Novel

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Overview

From an award-winning author whose ancestors lived the adventures in this novel comes a spectacular new epic about the American West.

Part history, part romance, and part action-adventure novel, Sun Going Down follows the fortunes of Ebenezer Paint and his descendants—rough and tough individuals who are caught up in Civil War river battles, epic cattle drives through drought and blizzards, the horrors of Wounded Knee, the desperation of the dust bowl, and the prosperity of the roaring 1920s.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Three generations of the Paint family struggle through 70 years of hardship and heartache on the Western plains in Todd's ambitious fiction debut. En route from Mississippi to the Dakota Territory at the height of the Civil War, Ebenezar Paint meets and marries twice-widowed Cora, a union that produces two strapping twin boys, Eli and Ezra. Ebenezer vainly chases riches; by 15, the boys are orphans and cowboys-and involved in a risky but profitable bit of horse stealing. Ezra remains a wanderer, while Eli settles down to become a wealthy rancher. The narrative eventually follows Eli's favorite daughter of his six children: Velma, who is brutalized by two of her three husbands, but whose estrangement from Eli causes her the most pain, and takes the story into the Depression era. Vivid and colorful in its depiction of the West's transformation from the frontier to the modern age, this is a hardscrabble tale of proud folks who refuse to forgive mistakes or forget faults. Todd's previous book was Desertion, a memoir of his 1969 desertion from the U.S. Army and his resettlement in Canada. He gives this epic story, which an afterword notes is based on the lives of relatives, pulpy sweep and palpable anguish. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Award-winning sports columnist Todd's debut novel is based on family diaries and journals. Covering a 70-year span from 1863 to 1933, and set mostly in Nebraska and Montana, this family saga covers four generations of the Paint family, especially twin brothers Eli and Ezra Paint, who build the 8T8 Ranch up from nothing, near Prairie Dog Creek, NE. As an epic, it's very good at showing what life was like on the frontier-it even manages to tell a couple of pretty good stories, such as the lightning-blasted lynching of Eli Paint-but on the whole, readers will need the mindset of a historian to enjoy this book. Recommended for academic and regional collections (especially if the region is the northern Great Plains).
—Ken St. Andre

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439165072
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 917,274
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jack Todd is the author of the novels Sun Going Down and Come Again No More and the memoir Desertion, which won the Quebec Writer’s Federation First Book Prize and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. Visit his website at JackToddTheAuthor.com.
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Introduction

Questions for Discussion:

1. Sun Going Down is populated with a lively, colorful cast of characters, but nature also plays an essential role in the novel. In many ways, it helps determine the plot, providing an element of suspense or affording the characters certain opportunity. Discuss three examples that exist throughout Sun Going Down when nature determines a character's fate.

2. Discuss courtship and marriage as it is portrayed in Sun Going Down. When Eb Paint marries Cora, she has already been married twice and they have not spent much more than a few months together. How would you react if you were forced to decide to marry someone you'd only known for just a few months? Although Eli and Livvy also only knew each other for a short time before they were married, they have a successful marriage. What makes their marriage work?

3. When Eli marries Livvy, he tells her that the bruises and scars around his neck are not from his attempted hanging for stealing horses, but from a joke that went a bit too far. Why did he lie to her? Given the harsh times in which they lived, would she understand the need to steal horses in order to survive or to make up for what was already owed Eli and Ezra?

4. Why does Eli banish Velma from the Fanciful when she becomes pregnant, especially given the fact that everything that he has was built on what he called his "black money" - the money he earned from stealing horses? Is this a double standard? Would his actions be more acceptable in today's world?

5. Why does Velma refuse to reconcile with Eli, even when she realizes that she needs help caring for her children? When Eli runs Frank off afterhe breaks her arm, she has the chance to reconcile but refuses to do so. Why?

6. After Livvy's death, Eli eventually marries again, and has another family with Ida Mae. Why does it seem that partners and families are so easily replaceable? Why do you think the author does not focus on this new family except to mention Ida Mae and two of the children's eventual descent into madness or depression?

7. How do you imagine that Emaline's and Eli's relationship progressed after Velma's death? Did Emaline forgive Eli for being absent for so long? Was a relationship possible?

8. For the most part, the characters in this novel have a gritty tenacity, necessitated by their hardscrabble existence. Nevertheless, the female characters are particularly distinct. Discuss the similarities and differences between the women that father and son Eb and Eli choose to marry - Cora, Livvy, and Ida Mae. How are the lives of father (Eb), and sons (Eli and Ezra) similar?

9. Discuss the various ways in which religion is perceived in Sun Going Down, whether from the perspective of God-fearing, church-going characters, to those who revere nature and fate, to the Native American tradition. How do the characters' faiths serve them throughout the novel?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2010

    Great Book!

    I just happened to pick it up - I have never read "Westerns". It greatly reminded me of Pillars of the Earth. Just loved it. In fact, we drove through South Dakota on our way to Colorado last fall just to see the landscape and attempt to have the feeling from this book. Gave it to friends and family as a gift with great reviews from the very diverse audience. Can't say enough how I enjoyed the characters and the epic-style story.

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  • Posted May 31, 2009

    Good read

    A slow beginning had me wondering whether I would continue, but I gradually became fascinated with the characters. A good insight into the many hardships and complexities faced by the early western ranchers and settlers. My only difficulty was in keeping track of the many people and their relationships. At times I had to look back a few pages to sort out the changing relationships, but it is well worth the effort.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Historical Book

    Great characters and historical facts will keep your attention. Author seemed to have sympathy and political correctness for everyone except the Christians.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008

    Excellent

    It has been quite a while since I have read a book that was as captivating, heartbreaking, and beaufitful as this. I enjoyed the characters and lanscapes that Mr. Todd described in detail. From Eb and Lucian to Velma and Emaline, from the Mississippi to the blizzards of Nebraska and Wyoming, this is a book I will read again and again. I recommend this book to anyone looking for their next great read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2008

    Bullet format prevents reading

    While I would LOVE to read this book, the bullet format for conversation is really aggravating. I just can't read books set up this way. I wish there was a choice of format for people who prefer a conventional reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    NOt Lonesome Dove, but what is?

    This was a good book, enjoyed it, but never compair to Lonesome Dove

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008

    A Novel for Western-Pioneer Fans

    This is a detailed epic of a historical family that transcends time from the American Civil War to the Depression Era. I enjoyed the bullet format instead of punctuation marks for character dialogue. This allows the reader to focus more on the story and the characters. I enjoyed the historical references to the settling of the South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska areas. Since I am from South Dakota the pioneer life was very accurate. The character development was well done. However, I felt the ending came too fast as I wanted to read more about the lives of some of the other daughters. Maybe there will be a sequel. If you like to read about the grit and determination of the early American families in the Midwest area you will enjoy this book.

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    Posted April 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews

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