A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

Book - 1991
Average Rating:
5
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A thousand acres, a piece of land of almost mythic proportions. Upon this fertile, nourishing earth, Jane Smiley has set her rich, breathtakingly dramatic novel of an American family whose wealth cannot stay the hand of tragedy. It is the intense, compelling story of a father and his daughters, of sisters, of wives and husbands, and of the human cost of a lifetime spent trying to subdue the land and the passions it stirs. The most critically acclaimed novel of the literary season, a classic story of contemporary American life, A THOUSAND ACRES is destined to be read for years to come. "It has been a long time since a novel so surprised me with its power to haunt . . . . Its genius grows from its ruthless acceptance of the divided nature of every character . . . . This gives A THOUSAND ACRES the prismatic quality of the greatest art." -- Chicago Tribune Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award From the Trade Paperback edition.
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, c1991.
ISBN: 9780394577739
0394577736
9780449907481
0449907481
9780804115766
0804115761
9781400033836
1400033837
Branch Call Number: FIC SMILEY
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 25 cm.

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Larry Cook decides to retire from his thousand acre family farm. A decision that's celebrated by his daughters, save one, until everything begins to unravel when their father's behavior turns strange and secrets are spilled.


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BostonPL_LauraB Nov 16, 2016

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would certainly read more from Jane Smiley because her writing is very good. To be honest though, this novel lost me a bit in the last quarter, and I don't think it was just because I read another book in between the first bit and the last bit. I didn't understand many of the characters motivations for their behaviors and the timeline just sped up too fast. Very interested to read more set in Iowa though (this was set very near my hometown, Mason City), as she really captured the scenery and essence of the people quite well. I will say though to people not familiar with the agricultural Midwest, that a typical family is not filled with so much sexual assault, adultery, and murder - yikes.

l
lukasevansherman
Feb 28, 2016

"One thing was surely true about going to court. It had marvelously divided us from each other and from our old lives. There could be no reconciliation now." Pulitzer-prize winner Jane Smiley relocates "King Lear" to the Iowa farmlands. In this case, it's an aging father dividing up his farm, rather than his kingdom. Unlike Lear, there's little sympathetic about the father, who is far more malicious. Well-written and intense, it can be a somewhat grueling read for the sheer amount of pain the characters inflict on one another. Made into a film with Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and Jason Robards.

o
ownedbydoxies
Mar 09, 2015

It's a page-turner, but good grief, what a family! Yow. This book won the Pulitzer back in the early 90's, and it's well-written of course, but I can honestly say my main impression is of stress - how can any group of people live with this kind of stress in their lives, ignoring it as much as possible, hiding things and then seeking revenge. You'd think they'd all keel over from the tension of it all.

d
dijolly
Dec 23, 2011

It's hard to comment on this book. The story is complicated and at times you are angry at the characters but then that is a sign of a good book....

o
owie07
Aug 20, 2011

I enjoyed the story this book told, but it seem to really drag to get there.

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