cover image Come Again No More

Come Again No More

Jack Todd, Simon & Schuster, $25 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9849-7

The second installment of the Paint trilogy (after Sun Going Down) continues with this compelling, if meandering, tale of Depression-era life in the West. Four generations of the Paint family come into focus through events surrounding the funeral of Eli Paint's estranged granddaughter and the shotgun wedding of his young great-granddaughter, Emaline. First, Eli misses the funeral, then crashes his car upon returning to his Wyoming ranch. After the accident, however, Eli and Juanita, his housekeeper, declare their love. Meanwhile, Emaline's marriage to Jake, an aging prizefighter, isn't going well; after he loses all their money to grifters, she leaves him to live with Eli and Juanita. But when Jake's floozy ex-wife shows up with the six-year-old son Jake never knew he had, Emaline returns, adopting the boy as her own. Facing the loss of their farm, Jake and Emaline join the westward migration in the hope that Oregon will bring them better luck. Though it doesn't quite manage the sweeping grandeur it shoots for, the novel—based on Todd's family history—conveys the tenacity and distress of Americans caught in the vise of the Great Depression. (Sept.)