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Come Again No More

Come Again No More

A Novel

  • reading group guide
From the award-winning author of the acclaimed Sun Going Down comes an intimate portrait of a marriage and a family struggling to survive turbulent times that echo our own.

THE PAINT FAMILY built an American empire on the legendary strength of their character, their wit, and their resolve, but the foreclosures, bank failures, and joblessness of the Great Depression may bring their world down around them. The family’s foundation is further weakened by a rift running through two generations, scarred over by stubbornness and pain. Come Again No More is a uniquely American story about a family navigating a changing world and the tough choices it presents.

The indomitable family patriarch, Eli, owns everything as far as the eye can see, but there is an emptiness in his heart. After a dramatic accident leaves him struggling for life, he must reckon with the decisions he made that separated him from the daughter he loved most. A chance for redemption presents itself in his granddaughter Emaline. Eli has faced his own mortality many times, but his pride seems to have a death grip on him.

Emaline marries Jake, a womanizing prizefighter who promises to help her realize her dream of making a life on a farm. But Jake’s inner demons and nature itself conspire against Emaline’s fierce determination to make their marriage work. Life sends Emaline many joys when she least expects them, but ultimately, she must make tough decisions about holding on and letting go.

Based on the author’s family letters and diaries, Come Again No More is a bittersweet novel, a moving and vivid portrayal of a family’s triumphs and tragedies paralleling the glories and shameful underbelly of a nation struggling through the Great Depression.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439109519 | 
  • September 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Come Again No More includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Jack Todd. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Come Again No More details a decade of the life of the Paint family, who have made their way out to the American west and settled as farmers in Wyoming. Eli Paint, the patriarch of the family, is on the way back from the funeral of his daughter Velma when he gets into a terrible car accident, almost dying from his injuries and the following onset of hypothermia. He narrowly escapes death with the help of friends, including Two Spuds, a Choctaw cowboy, and Eli’s housekeeper-turned-lover Juanita Barrios, trained in nursing by her former husband.

The novel then follows the life of Eli’s granddaughter (Velma’s daughter) Emaline—a lonely waitress. She crosses paths with the famous boxer Jake McCloskey, in town for his next bout, and though his crass attitude and lack of manners are beneath Emaline, she falls for him. He can’t spell his own name, but he can dance, and he promises her a life quite different than the quiet one she leads. But their marriage ends up uncovering pieces of J see more

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About the Author

Jack Todd
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Jack Todd

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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