Answer by Matthew Spencer:
Winterkill by Craig Leslie. The protagonist is Danny Kachiah, a Nez Perce rodeo clown living on a reservation in the Pacific Northwest. The story follows Danny as he confronts a declining career and family traumas after taking custody young son, whose mother has died in a car accent.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about the book. Like a lot of students growing up in Oregon and Washington during the 90s and 2000s, I read it as part of the English curriculum in high school. From what I recall, the prose was well crafted but the pacing slow. The flashbacks felt contrived.
But if you’re reading strictly for the subject matter, you should give Winterkill a try. The bits about rodeo life struck me as being quite realistic, and they were by far the most interesting sections of the novel.