Sundown, Yellow Moon: A Novel
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Sundown, Yellow Moon: A Novel

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  24 reviews
On an icy day in January 1961, in Bismarck, 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, the boys learn the shocking truth: hours before, Gene’s father, Raym...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Random House
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Fans of Larry Watson's Bentrock, Montana, stories may either be disappointed by this new novel or welcome it as an intriguing postmodern venture into the subjects of jealousy and obsession. The narrator, like the author, is a North Dakota-born writer, looking back on his coming of age in the early 1960s. A murder-suicide in the opening pages (like the double-fatality at the start of "White Crosses") sets in motion a chain of events that compromises nearly everyone it touches.

Meanwhile, unable to...more
I liked this book. I liked the tone and the anti-plot development. It was a character piece in which none of the characters change very much (sort of reiterating that character is permanent). And, in all fairness, Watson alerts the reader in the beginning that it is less a book with a plot and instead, about the why: "in spite of the popularity of mystery novels, is who the question we really want answered? Isn't why what we truly want to know?" Yes, I would agree that even in the most plot-ridd...more
May 29, 2009 mark rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: relationship curios
This story centers around a murder/suicide; but that is incidental to what the author is getting at. He wants to understand human relationships & why people do what they do. He comes up short in that; but uses an intersting technique in the process. Sundown, Yellow Moon is a sad story. There's no humor in it. None. The characters aren't likable save one, Marie, the protagonist's (the protagonist is a fiction writer who looks back on his life, via short stories he writes interwined with his r...more
Chi Dubinski
Two sixteen year old boys, the narrator and Gene Stoddard, return from school to find that Gene’s father, Ray, shot local politician Monty Burnham and then hung himself in the family garage. The story is told through various possible scenarios, diary entries of the narrator who imagines possibilities of why it happened. Did Stoddard pull the trigger to cover up a scandal in the government? Because of something that happened during World War II? Over the fact that his father was cheated out of so...more
Overall, this was a good book, or at least, well-intentioned. However, one should only read this book if he or she is interested in the psychology of characters, a deep and almost clinical psycho-emotional introspection. Personally, I don't mind this type of book, but what I would advise all of you is that if you're looking for a solid, well-developed story line, you will not truly find that here. In fact, it was never Larry Watson's intention to provide one. Instead, he sought to clearly portra...more
Apr 01, 2008 Diane rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Diane by: Good reviews; heard author speak
I've tried, I've really tried to find in Larry Watson's books the elements that other reviewers rave about. After hearing Watson speak about this book, I was full of hope and gave it another try.

For me, Sundown Yellow Moon was a disjointed story filled with a self-pitying or incomplete characters. If the story was to show the quest for answers and the complexity of relationships, there were too many unfinished threads - for example, why the narrator's father took the path he did -and the relat...more
Kristin Bonacci
Great characters, everyone is flawed. I can relate. I read this too fast to 5 star it, but I am sad it's over. I love Larry Watson and his characters.
Love is complicated. For the Young.
Mar 29, 2014 Jean added it
Another great tale by a terrific midwest story teller.
I liked the style of this book. The author poses several solutions to the problem/conflict in the novel. That approach was fantastic. Aren't there things that we can't explain and that we wonder about for years? Sometimes, we just have to come to peace with them, even unsettled.
This is the first of Larry Watson's books that I haven't liked. I didn't like the fiction within fiction bits. The presupposition really turned me off. It is an interesting look at trying to piece things together, but this was a bit of a stretch for me.
I liked this book for the way it refuses to resolve or reveal itself plot-wise, but I didn't particularly care for the main character or some of the literary tricks he used in writing it.

I found Orchard to be a better story and better execution.
hardly an exceptional effort, but not the worst thing i've read. i'm not sure how i feel about the gimmick he employs, which was mentioned in other reviews. at times, it does come off a bit precious. but it IS different.
Jan 25, 2009 Paula rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Barbara Keefe, Joan, Kathy, Sharon, Sara, Kim
Good coming of age story - two good friends - one suffers a terrible trauma. The other friend spends much of his life dealing with his friend's loss, the reason for it, etc. Good look at male friendships.
Kim DeNero
Nov 06, 2007 Kim DeNero rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Larry Watson is the rare author who just gets better with each book. His writing seems effortless and I couldn't put this book down. His characters and sense of place are spot on.
This book is good until the end when it falls apart. The time line for most os the book is 1-2 years, then it speeds up and it feels jarring.
I wish I could have had the patience to finish this. It's well written but it doesn't GO ANYWHERE. Finally I gave up, life is too short.
Good book. Enjoyed reading fiction set in the Dakotas. While this is set in North it made me reminiscent for South Dakota.
Dec 03, 2007 Jill rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
disappointing!!! normally love Larry Watson, how come this one was so uninspiring?!?
Readfrk Axland
Donated paperback version. Read in on Kindle, so I have that version also.
No idea where this title came from...if you know, please let me know!
Doug Page
After Montana, 1948, I read everything Watson writes.
Thomas Cannon
tackles large themes with life's small details
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 Beth Shields-Szostak marked it as to-read
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed & inscribed by author
Shawna marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
Angela marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2014
Paul marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
Dana Helbert
Dana Helbert marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2014
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Larry Watson was born in 1947 in Rugby, North Dakota. He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and was educated in its public schools. Larry married his high school sweetheart, Susan Gibbons, in 1967. He received his BA and MA from the University of North Dakota, his Ph.D. from the creative writing program at the University of Utah, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Ripon College. Watson...more
More about Larry Watson...
Montana 1948 American Boy Let Him Go White Crosses Orchard

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