Our book club had seven women present who read the book in entirety, ages 31 to This was our 52nd read and our fifth Pulitzer. We rate books on their quality and readability, as well as the discussion they prompt. We also play trivia games and enjoy themed potlucks, and that plays into the rating as well.
While she was never the most orthodox ultra-leftist - for one thing few of her comrades were as fanatical about horse-riding as she was - she nevertheless did her share of analysing the way America did business and agitating against it. Three and a half decades later, Smiley is the author of 11 novels and one of the most successful writers in the country.
Her clinical exposition of marital vicissitude, The Age of Griefearned her a large readership and her relocation of the King Lear story A report on a thousand acres by jane smiley the Iowa farmlands, A Thousand Acreswon her a Pulitzer prize.
Her novel Horse Heaven was set on the international horse racing circuit and featured a vast cast of human, equine and even canine characters.
Reviewing it, British writer Julie Myerson claimed that Smiley "is without doubt one of the American literary giants, a rare, poised, feminine voice up there with all those loud, male ones like Roth and Updike".
Novelist Philip Hensher described her recent novels as "what Tom Wolfe's are popularly supposed to be. She is the most perfect vindication of the realist novel, of the speaking voice. In her sensuous responsiveness to the facts of the world, her cool, amused, analytical gaze, she has started to look like the best living American novelist".
The rather severe-looking short-haired brunette who stared out from Smiley's early book jackets is now a breezily friendly and informal presence with shoulder-length blonde hair.
But she is still besotted with horses and while her six foot two frame ensured she would never be a jockey, her literary success has enabled her to buy a dozen racehorses, including 10 thoroughbreds, some of which are stabled at a lavish equestrian centre near her home in the Carmel Valley, California.
Driving through the immaculately painted white gates and exquisitely manicured grounds - the centre was built in the 20s as the country residence of a San Francisco banking family - she easily passes as a model of Californian plutocratic success, but her infectious enthusiasm for the gritty practicalities of the racetrack contrasts with the pampered opulence of her surroundings.
As does the realisation that not only is her horse habit entirely unreconstructed, but so is her fundamental objection to the way the world works. There can't be trust without regulation and so horse racing teaches that regulation is good rather than bad and is the thing that keeps people putting their money in.
They haven't come forward to explain accounting fraud and corporate governance fraud. It was obvious to me in that the system was screwed up and now, finally, the free markets are saying maybe it went too far.
It makes me want to vomit. Ordinary people lost a lot and these tenured professors are still standing. The rest of us seem to be getting older and more conservative and complaining about paying too many taxes.
But Jane would be happier if she could pay more taxes. He notes that "by the time she wrote A Thousand Acres she was aware that no agenda - including feminism and gender issues, agricultural policy and environmental pollution, higher education and home schooling, racial identity and social class, research grants and foreign policy - stands alone.
Everything is part of the web of life; everything connects. Her father left when she was still a baby and Smiley was brought up by her mother.
Although she never saw her father again - he died in - she says: For instance, he was a vegetarian before anyone else, but because he wasn't very sociable and lived alone, his theories were quite eccentric. When he died, the floor of his mobile home was sagging with the weight of papers and books and opera recordings.
Although an only child, Smiley was surrounded by cousins and, later, half- and step-siblings when her mother remarried in Her cousin, Lucy Childs, who now works for Smiley's literary agent, remembers the young Jane as "like many members of our family, someone who talked constantly. And it was obvious to everyone by the time she was a teenager that she was either going to be an equestrian vet or a writer.
I remember one summer when she was about 16, all she seemed to be doing was writing stories and in her breaks she'd polish her saddle".
Smiley remembers herself as "a bit of an out-to-lunch child.
I was very disorganised and it drove my mother crazy that I'd always be coming home without a jacket or homework or whatever. I did pretty well at school but all I really wanted was a horse.
Then I went to a very good prep school where they could mould any material into some sort of ivy league shape".Jane smiley is the author of many novels, including A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Horse Heaven.
She lives in Northern California. In , . An ambitious reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear cast upon a typical American community in the late twentieth century, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride, and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.
Apr 22, · Sign in to report inappropriate content. Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley chronicles an American century - Duration: King Lear and Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres - Duration. This is a book club review of A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.
Our book club had seven women present who read the book in entirety, ages 31 to This was our 52nd read and our fifth Pulitzer. We rate books on their quality and readability, as well as the discussion they prompt/5(). When I re-read it now, I still don't know how Smiley did it, because the voices in A Thousand Acres are so raw and true, right from the first page.
Get all the key plot points of Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres on one page. From the creators of SparkNotes.