Some Luck is the first novel in the dazzling Last Hundred Years trilogy from the winner of the Pulitzer Prize Jane Smiley; a literary adventure that will spans a century in America.
1920. After his return from the battlefields in France, Walter Langdon and his wife Rosanna begin their life together on a remote farm in Iowa. As time passes, their little family will grow: from Frank, the handsome, wilful first-born, to Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him; from Lillian, beloved by her mother, to Henry who craves only the world of his books; and Claire, the surprise baby, who earns a special place in her father’s heart.
As Walter and Rosanna struggle to keep their family through good years and hard years – to years more desperate than they ever could have imagined, the world around their little farm will turn, and life for their children will be unrecognizable from what came before. Some will fall in love, some will have families of their own, some will go to war and some will not survive. All will mark history in their own way.
Tender, compelling and moving from the 1920s to the 1950s, told in multiple voices as rich as the Iowan soil, Some Luck is an astonishing feat of storytelling by a prize-winning author writing at the height of her powers.
So here it is at last, the Great American Novel and, in retrospect, it seems obvious that the great Jane Smiley would be the one who wrote it. Some Luck is a Steinbeckian Little House on the Prairie: a rural tragedy, a domestic epic and an unassuming masterpiece. And, unlike most masterpieces, it's absorbing, witty, painful, pleasurable. You must read it. -- Charlotte Mendelson, Booker/Orange Prize nominated author of Almost English and When We Were Bad A masterpiece in the making . . . intimate, miraculous-the auspicious beginning of an American saga every bit as ambitious as Updike's magnum opus, anchored in the satisfactions and challenges of life on a farm, but expanding to various American cities and beyond . . . An abundant harvest. * USA Today * Fans of big-cast family sagas with love and death and the world at large impinging only lightly - but tellingly - on events will love Some Luck. It is an easy and engrossing read with the cornfields, the snowstorms and the technological developments of the 20th century vividly evoked. * Independent * Try to pin Jane Smiley down at your peril: she is as likely to write a campus novel (Moo) as a 14th-century historical saga (The Greenlanders) or a foray into the world of breeders and racetracks (Horse Heaven). . . Some Luck is not simply an observation of family life and the pressures it is naturally susceptible to; it is also a dissection of the idea of family, and of the truths its facade will shield from view. * Guardian * Smiley's gifts as a storyteller are in full force from the first page, drawing us into the lives of the characters. The children especially, with their emerging personalities, are marvellously evoked. * Financial Times * Smiley is a master storyteller, with a penchant for turning archetypal allegories into seemingly straightforward, contemporary narratives . . . Jane Smiley is that rare three-fer: meticulous historian, intelligent humorist and seasoned literary novelist. But what makes a Smiley novel identifiably and deliciously hers alone is a unique brand of impassioned critical patriotism . . . Some Luck is the first in a trilogy to be called "The Last Hundred Years." Like Smiley herself, the project is ambitious and coyly clever. * LA TIMES * Audaciously delicious . . . Every character here steals our heart. Smiley has turned her considerable talents to the story of an Iowa farm and the people who inhabit it. The suspense is found in the impeccably drawn scenes and in the myriad ways in which Smiley narrows and opens her camera's lens. Her language has the intimacy of a first-person telling; her stance is in-the-moment . . . We read these lives, and we find our own. * CHICAGO TRIBUNE * The good news? This is the first of a trilogy. The bad news? We have to wait for the next volume. * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * Engaging, bold . . . Smiley delivers a straightforward, old-fashioned tale of rural family life in changing times, depicting isolated farm life with precision . . . It is especially satisfying to hear a powerful writer narrate men's and women's lives lovingly and with equal attention. Subtle, wry and moving. * WASHINGTON POST * Moving and alert and alive . . . A book about the ordinary nothings that, in the end, are everything . . . To capture this experience - finitude, love, sorrow, the rise and fall of generations - is insanely difficult. To foster the illusion of realism in a novelistic fantasy, to convey the passage of time. * Spectator * Some Luck is as rich, beautiful and brilliant as Smiley's Pulitzer-Prize-winning A Thousand Acres. Place bets now for this year's Booker. -- Kate Saunders, Costa-winning author and critic * Saga magazine *
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