Prepared by Carol Leuchovius
Note from Kathleen Eagle: Carol Leuchovius is a member of Midwest Fiction Writers, my home RWA chapter. Carol is an avid reader, a writer, and a teacher who is familiar with most of my books. I asked her to prepare this tool as a springboard for discussion of my March sequel to THE NIGHT REMEMBERS. I’m excited about the chance to offer this from a perspective other than mine. I also have Carol’s own responses to the questions, available upon e-mail request.
1. Victor and Victory appear to be two personalities of the same character, however, Victory is described in textures, especially hard and soft, while Victor is described using colors, black & red, as well as textures, suit and clay. Why does the author describe these two important characters in such different terms?
2. The prized artifact is the set of century-old Native American ledger drawing. Why are these drawings so important to Thomas Warrior? Why are they so important to Cassandra?
3. Early in the book (pg. 10-11) the human Victor, (as opposed to the character Victor?) is described with an onslaught of uncanny beasts – cat-like; squirrel; dirty, desiccated, scaly beast; mole-like, dog like – and when he attempts to literally put on the hide of a more grand beast (buffalo/story robe), it scorches and shuns him. Why does the author affront Victor with a barrage of animals so fast and in front of his name, a name which is ironically what we often called the "winner?"
4. When Angela, Thomas’s adoptive mother, is described on page 13, she is not animal-like at all, but machine-like. She becomes the "Little Engine That Could," a mechanical beast, industrial and not of the earth. Even her name hints at something other than natural such as an angel. She is a good woman, but still white and less of the earth than either Thomas Warrior or her husband, Jesse Brown Wolf. Why does Thomas allow this transformation of his mother? Does she deserve this kind of symbolism? Is she machine-like?
5. Why is Thomas Warrior so adverse to mentoring kids?
6. Thomas spoke of needing a "new source of trouble, a new threat to Victory’s rejuvenation in places and among people who had never seen her for themselves and found her hard to imagine, but who still believed" (33). Why is this important to Thomas, as well as to the book, at this point?
7. Throughout the book there are many comparisons to artists/ and writers/books. In one instance Thomas tells Cassandra: "Those drawings are more about the soul of a nation than its history" (4). How do works of fiction reveal the soul rather than the history?
8. The first kiss between Thomas and Cassandra "was as silky as nightfall. . ." (57). How is nightfall silky? Why do these two terms fit the two characters?
9. Thomas Little Warrior becomes "his own prime suspect" towards the end of the book. How does this affect his relationship with Cassandra?
10. "The feel of him made her shimmer inside, as though the sun had found a way to make her bones glisten" (Epilogue). The visual impossibility of this phrase is the epitome of excellent description. Although you could never actually see such a thing, the idea of it affects your perception and you know exactly what Cassandra is talking about. Are there other such phrases that stand out like this in the book? Which is your favorite? How does it make you feel?