Sunday, 5 October 2014

Review: Some Luck by Jane Smiley

On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family's land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who's not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father's heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family's triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smiley's dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Knopf 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Some Luck is one of those sleepy stories that sneaks up and grabs you. It tells the story of the Langdon family one year at a time. What starts out a little slow, gains momentum as each chapter and year goes by and before I knew it I was invested in the outcome of each family member.

It was interesting to read about life on a farm during that time frame and how the family struggled, coped and survived during many historical events that occurred during that time. It begins just after the first World War and continues through to the second and beyond. I loved the writing and the characters and found that there was an honesty that is sometimes lacking.

If I had to critique it I would say that it sometimes got confusing when it would jump from one point of view to another in the same chapter. I understand that each chapter represented a year but it did get a little busy at times with the multiple points of view. It was not a huge deal and did not impact my enjoyment but it did make me hesitate a couple times particularly when I was really enjoying one story and it would jump to another.

Over all it was a very solid read and I would recommend it for any fans of historical fiction.

About the Author
Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2006 she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.

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1 comment:

  1. I love historical fiction, I need to get this one on my TBR right away!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings