As a boy growing up in Montana, he was Samson Hunts Alone — until a deadly misunderstanding with the law forced him to flee the Crow reservation at age fifteen. Today he is a successful Santa Barbara insurance salesman with a Mercedes, a condo, and a hollow, invented life.
Then one day, shortly after his 35th birthday, destiny offers Samuel Hunter the dangerous gift of love in the exquisite form of Calliope Kincaid — and a curse in the unheralded appearance of an ancient Indian god by the name of Coyote. Coyote, the trickster, has arrived to transform tranquility into chaos, to reawaken the mystical storyteller within Sam … and to seriously screw up his existence in the process.
Topics for Discussion
- Sam Hunter is described as a “machine,” becoming whomever he needs to be to make the deal. He has put on so many faces that he has lost sight of who he really is. Do you know anyone like this? Do people really lose themselves in the roles they play?
- Coyote is the trickster of many Native American tribes, a god who, it seems, exists merely to cause trouble. There are trickster figures in almost every culture in the world. Why do you think this is?
- The author describes Sams sale of insurance not as “scare tactics” but as playing on peoples innate fear of irony (that is: if you let your insurance lapse, you are sure to wreck your car). Is there any basis in this belief? Have you ever made a decision based on the fear of irony? Is irony a real force in the universe?
- Calliope describes herself as almost a victim of her own beauty. Are attractive women trivialized because of their looks? Do you generally assume that a beautiful woman is less intelligent? What about a handsome man? Does our society create “airheads” by having lower expectations for the accomplishments of pretty young girls?
- At the end of the book, Coyote states that he has come back to make new stories for his people. What does this say about preserving cultures and religions that dont seem to relate well to the changes in our modern world? Would the Bible or the Koran tell different stories if there were telephones, computers, and other modern technologies available at the time? Can traditional beliefs survive in the face of the increasing pace of change in our lives?