Sun Going Down
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. The page-turning plot is peopled by a vibrant, unforgettable cast of characters: a grizzled Mississippi steamboat merchant, two horse-thieving brothers, five Annie Oakley-like sisters who can outride any cowboy, a half-Sioux bride who demands her new family claim her heritage, and a courageous daughter who defies her father and braves the West alone. Throughout their lives, the Paint family must battle both internal and external elements, and learn to live with spirit and wit.
Letters and diaries from the author's own family archives form the basis for all the events and characters in Sun Going Down, infusing the novel with richly detailed authenticity and deep emotional power. It is intimate in its portraits of the unforgettable characters who settled our country, sweeping in its geographical reach from Vicksburg up through Montana and the Dakotas, and epic as it spans four generations from the Civil War to the Great Depression.
Masterfully written, Sun Going Down holds the reader fast through tears, laughter, terror, and joy until the very last heart-gripping page is turned.
Reading Group Guide
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 t see more