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A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
Anchor Books, Dec 2003
Told in five “books” or parts, this prize-winning novel blew me away. On the surface as quiet and unchanging—or as slowly changing—as its rural setting, the work plunges deep into the lives and relations of a family struggling to keep a farming lifestyle alive.
Having lived in the Midwest and seen the daily struggle of farm families to continue to make something of the work that feeds a nation, I know that Smiley’s depictions are true to life. The details she selects to illuminate the interior feelings of the characters also expand upon their actions. Although mere single lives when considered individually, each of these characters becomes as wide and as wide-ranging as the plains on which they live and work and struggle.
A novel not to be missed. I’ll be sure to seek out more of Smiley’s work.
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