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Sundown, Yellow Moon: A Novel

by Larry Watson

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685311,660 (3.3)10
More than forty years after his best friend's father shoots and kills a state senator in Bismarck, North Dakota, and then commits suicide, a writer attempts to unravel the mystery behind one man's tragic actions.
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Showing 5 of 5
“Sirens sound when deeds are done.”

“That which is hidden in the snow reappears in the spring.”

Those are just two of the many quotes I really liked in this book! The writing is, as usual with Mr. Watson, the big treat of this story! It is told from the point of view of a young man who's best friend's father shoots a Senator, and then kills himself. The young man is also in love with his best friend's girl. And the young man is telling it as an adult, an adult who is a writer and presents some of his ideas through short stories he has written, based on his real life experiences. The truths, and the fictions, guide the story and present a multitude of "what if's", "why's" and "how come's" behind the reasons for the murder/suicide and the paths of young love. It is quite an accomplishment that the whole book resonated deeply with me, even if some questions went unanswered.

"She glistens. She shimmers. She shines. She glistens. She shimmers. She shone, shone, shone...." ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jul 22, 2021 |
From the book jacket: On an icy day in January 1961, in Bismark, North Dakota, a sixteen-year-old boy walks home from high school with his best friend, Gene. The sudden sound of sirens startles and excites them, but they don’t have long to wonder what the sound could mean. Soon after seeing police cars parked on their street, they boys learn the shocking truth; hours before Gene’s father, Raymond Stoddard, walked calmly and purposefully into the state capitol and shot to death a charismatic state senator. Raymond then drove home and hanged himself in his garage.

My reactions:
Watson writes in the first person, making this a very introspective story. The narrator is never named, though we learn that he grows up to become a writer, and some of his stories are interspersed throughout the novel. It’s clear that this event, and particularly the mystery of WHY, will haunt him, and give him material for his work for years to come.

But the narrator’s inability to let go of the murder / suicide, and his inability to connect with the people around him – his parents, his best friend, his girlfriend, etc – makes the entire novel read like an oddly unemotional third-person account. I never connected with the narrator or any of the other characters, and was left feeling “is that all?” ( )
  BookConcierge | Oct 30, 2017 |
tackles large themes with life's small details ( )
  Thomas_Cannon | Nov 5, 2014 |
tackles large themes with life's small details ( )
  Thomas_Cannon | Nov 5, 2014 |
tackles large themes with life's small details ( )
  Thomas_Cannon | Nov 5, 2014 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Sundown, yellow moon, I replay the past
I know every scene by heart, they all went by so fast
--Bob Dylan, "If You See Her, Say Hello"
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To Susan
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Although I have devoted much of my life to writing stories, they are all, I have come to realize, part of a single story that has shifted and swelled over time but never strayed far from my core.
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More than forty years after his best friend's father shoots and kills a state senator in Bismarck, North Dakota, and then commits suicide, a writer attempts to unravel the mystery behind one man's tragic actions.

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