Bucking the Sun
Bucking the Sun is a startling story of mixed fortunes that races from moment to moment, an epic rendering of time and place that reminds us why Ivan Doig is our foremost living storyteller of the American West.
Read an Excerpt
Selfmade men always do a lopsided job of it, and the sheriff had come out conspicuously short on the capacity to sympathize with anyone but himself. No doubt ears still were burning at the Fort Peck end of the telephone connection; he'd had to tell that overgrown sap of an undersheriff he didn't give a good goddamn what the night foreman said about dangerous, get the thing fished out of the river if it meant using every last piece of equipment at the dam site. This was what he was up against all the time, the sheriff commiserated with himself during the drive from Glasgow now,... see more
Reading Group Guide
About the book It is 1938. A Ford truck is pulled from the Missouri River at Fort Peck Dam. Two unnamed Duffs are claimed by the river, and we follow the thread of their fate, eager to learn who, and why, as the clan pushes on against the circumstances. Thus begins Bucking the Sun, a wonderfully suspenseful novel about the Depression era when FDR was president and the New Deal prevailed.
Bucking the Sun is a fascinating chronicle of the explosion of construction towns, the building of the mammoth Fort Peck Dam and the displaced Duff family, whose farm is lost and whose legacy is to survive a changing America, amid their tangled love affairs and clashing politics.
- While based on the actual building of the Fort Peck Dam, Bucking the Sun is a work of fiction. At what point does the novel depart from fact to imagination? What liberties does Doig take that an author of non-fiction could not?
- Describe the structure of Bucking the Sun. Discuss Doig's literary voice, as well as his use of flashback. What is the author's purpose in these italic "back stories"?
- How do the shantytown settings and the emerging Fort Peck Dam summon the themes in Bucking the Sun?
- Doig has populated his novel equally with female and male characters -- Meg and Hugh, Bruce and Kate, Rosellen and Neil, Owen and Charlene, Prox