Reading Group Guide
Part love story, part vision quest, and always somewhat wacky, Coyote Blue tells the story of Sam Hunter – born Samson Hunts Alone on a Crow Indian Reservation, but reinvents himself as a successful insurance broker, until he is hit with the lightning bolt of love that goes by the name of Calliope. However, as with all Christopher Moore novels, there is something… weird… afoot, and that comes in the form of Old Man Coyote, an ancient Indian god famous for his abilities as a trickster, who leads Sam into more trouble than he can imagine, but also helps him find his way home.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Sam Hunter was initially known as Samson Hunts Alone. What does his name represent? What about the other names in the novel? Is Moore telling us more with the naming? What Indian/Native American name would you select for yourself and why? What do you think describes you best?
2. In ancient Greek and Roman mythology Calliope was the Muse that was associated with creativity, music, artistic expression, and epic poetry. Why name the main female character that name? In what ways did Calliope inspire Sam? Lead him on a journey?
3. Old-Man Coyote, or The Coyote is also known as a Trickster, who can alternately be scandalous, disgusting, amusing, and disruptive, but can also be a creative force in peoples lives, transforming their worlds in bizarre and outrageous ways. Why do you think The Coyote comes into Sam’s life when he does, and are all of the changes he makes for the better?
4. Discuss morality in the course of the book. After The Coyote has disrupted Sam’s life, he goes about “making things right” in various way, for instance by getting Sam’s home back by breaking Josh Spagnola’s legs and helping to blackmail Aaron Aaron. Is he really doing right to Sam by doing wrong to others?
5. Sam doesn’t drink because he fears the stereotype of the “drunken Indian” that he has left behind on the Crow Reservation. Discuss stereotypes and how grounded they are in reality. What other “stock” characters are represented in the book? How closely do they lie to their stereotypes?
6. Religion and faith weave itself into the book in many different ways from Indian/Native American mysticism, Egyptian mythology to various eastern religions. Discuss faith as it relates to the characters in the book.
7. When Aaron is teaching Sam the various tricks of the insurance game he tells him to “remember the three m’s: mesmerize, motivate, and manipulate” because you’re not selling a need, but rather a dream. How does Sam react to this? What does this say about his character?
8. Discuss the idea of communities serving as extended families, which is something stressed in the book about the Crow tribe? Discuss other examples of the “it takes a village”idea.
9. Chart Sam’s course from denying his heritage to “finding his way home.” Identify and discuss key points in the book that mark a turning point in Sam’s journey.
10. Which main character did you get the most “attached” to in the book? Sam? Old Coyote? Why? What qualities of this character make them endearing to you?
Tips to Enhance Your Bookclub
- Imagine leaving the life that you grew up with and creating an entirely different persona for yourself as Sam did. What would you change about yourself, where would you go? What new profession would you choose
- In many Native American cultures, when you enter the spirit world, you can be reincarnated as some new being. Do you believe in reincarnation? If so, what would you like to return as? Why? Learn more about reincarnation at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnatio
- Learn more about Christopher Moore and his other works at: http://www.chrismoore.com/