A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres

by Jane Smiley
3.5 63

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Thousand Acres 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do agree that the author did a nice job with the setting and characters, and I was certainly drawn in to the plot. There is no doubt it was well written however, I was left asking why it was written? In the end, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to take away from this book. It was one of the most dissapointing books I've ever read (and I have read a lot). I'm shocked people described it as the best book they've ever read. It really goes to show you how different people can be. I would ask yourself why you read a book. If the answer is to be entertained, to learn something, or to find hope, I would not reccomend this book. I was left with a giant hole in my heart for every single character in this book. I choose not to believe that life is this hopeless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a recipient of the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's play King Lear set on an Iowa farm during the 1980s. Narrated from the point of view of one of three daughters of the farm owner, she exposes the reader to the dark and unflattering reality of farm life in rural America. The father is cruel and abusive towards his daughters, setting the depressing and dark mood of the novel. As the father gets older, he becomes aware that maintaining the farm is more difficult than before. He therefore decides to divide the ownership of the family's one thousand-acre farm among his three daughters, leading to a series of events that unravel the family's darkest secrets. A Thousand Acres turned out to be a disappointing read considering all the awards and titles it has earned. Overall, Jane Smiley deserves credit for attempting to create a modern version of the Shakespeare play King Lear. However, though Smiley's concept was brilliant, the content of the novel does not meet the brilliance of her idea of creating a King Lear on an Iowan farm in the 1980s. From the beginning, the novel lacks action and has excess detail and descriptions used to build up the complex characters, allowing the storyline to drag along. The novel is enough to spoil the reader's mood and it may be disturbing and inappropriate for younger readers. Everything from paternal abuse, sexual abuse, incest, death, rape, and miscarriages happen on the thousand-acre farm. Certainly, A Thousand Acres is not a lighthearted, easy-read novel, and its dark themes and events listed previously may appeal to only select readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlike some other customer reviewers, I really liked this book. No, it's not an easy read, and it's not a "feel good story." It is literature. The cadence of Smiley's prose pulls the reader into the smothering world of the rural farmer, and the events that unfold are shocking. The parallels to Lear aee ambitious and effective. Highly recommend.
isitworthmytime More than 1 year ago
Life is too short for this read. I tried to give this book a chance as it was recommended by a friend. i did like the first half of the book where life on the farm was slowed down and the characters were developed so nicely. It was difficult to stay with the book after the father's meltdown. It did anger me that the alleged violation of the main character was not devastating to her, that she doubted it had happened at all and went on with her routine. I guess that was the point. But her continued pursuit of her love interest reminded me of a school girl obsession and was tiresome. I kept waiting for something to happen and it didnt. Again i guess thats the point. When she started making the jarred sausages this book became a mad fantasy and i could not connect to it anymore. I get in the end she was just like her father but really was that all? I wished i had spent a few days on something i would want to pass on to a friend. This was no a pass on. This was a pass over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I chose to read this book because it was a pultizer prize winner. I am almost to the half way point of the book and I'm completely sick of reading it. I'm glad I did not have to read this book for a school assignment. After reading the first few chapters I continued to read thinking to myself that the story is going to get better, but it has not. In my opinion, if a reader has not reached the juicy meaty part after arriving halfway through the book, the book is not worth reading any further.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was good, but it lacked emotionality. It could have been a tear jerker, but something was missing. This book was NOT worthy of a Pulitzer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells the fascinating journey of one seemingly boring (on the outside) farmwife's life in Iowa. It tells the story of a family and all the large and small betrayals they inflict on each other. This story kept me rapt. Lots of twists and turns. Loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was merely curious when I picked this book up from my sisters shelf and had decided to 'idly' leaf through it. I soon found myself reading in rapture. I think this book lends a different perspective as to how we live in our hearts, with our families living under one roof and eventually leaving the place we had grown up in, our relationships with our parents and siblings, how we interact with our neighbors and the community and general. It makes us realize what we are willing to cover about ourselves, the truths about us and our family, what we could also call our 'skeletons in our closets'. It also makes us think if we want to run away from that life, that experience or if we want to keep a blind eye to it, deny it ever happened pretend the pain, the confusion had never existed or if we face that evil and if we decide to face it. And if we do, do we have the courage to face it or will we crumble? Try to read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i studies this book as a comparitive literary study with king lear in college, and i have to say that it is probably one of the most dull and badly written books i have read. yes it provides a different perspective, but was king lear really written from the male perspective in the first place? it is a play after all, not a novel! smiley didn't provide much action, i felt like most of the book was based on overly emphasising themes that she must have picked up on when she studied king lear. overall, not a very good book. adaptations rarely are, if it isn't broke, don't fix it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought it was very boring highly NOT recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe you have to get some living under your belt to appreciate this marvelous novel. It is so realistic, so emotionally dramatic [that's where the action is, INSIDE the people], so exceedingly accurate in the way the characters intereact and are described. It is so TRUE. Smiley did a great job and this work seems to sum up all parts of the U.S. in the late 20th century, even though it is set in the midwest. It gets to the core of what life is about--bonds, hard work, heartbreak, and rebirth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I played Edmund in my college's production of 'King Lear' during my senior year. When you spend eight weeks rehearsing a play, it sticks with you. When I picked up 'A Thousand Acres,' it had been recommended to me by a friend who didn't know King Lear from Norman Lear -- but as soon as I realized what Jane Smiley had done by recasting Shakespeare's tragedy in the Great Plains, I was riveted. This isn't just an update of the story, but a retelling and repurposing. In Shakespeare's play, Goneril and Regan are heartless and evil. Smiley's novel is written from Ginny's point of view, and she and her sister Rose are given sympathetic motivations, proving that there are indeed two sides to every story. 'A Thousand Acres' changed the way I see 'King Lear' forever ...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was overly written and that she seemed to try to hard when writing this, it really annoyed me that she had to explain every detail about every thing, i took her a whole chapter to explain where they live. so i felt that this was a tediously long novel. i also think that Smiley needs to come up with her own ideas because it really annoys me when authors cant come with their own plot!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the film first. Then I read the book. I loved the film and I thought the book was one of the best I've ever read and probably ever will. I enjoyed it so much. I connected with the farm living and Southern feel. I loved reading about the conflicts and the family problems. I related to all of this. Smiley wrote an amazing book that should be shared with everyone. This book deserved all the critical praise it got. I'm glad I got to experience it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A patchwork Lear and his cursed daughters come to life again in this stunning modernization of Shakespeare's play. A story of secrets and skeletons that grips the reader and does not let go.
Anonymous 29 days ago
Similar to Shakespeare's "King Lear", A thousand acres was a story about an elderly farmer, who makes the decision of dividing his property between his three daughters. The setting takes place in the late 1970’s time period. The farm is located in Iowa, and owned by Larry Cook, while the story revolves around his 3 daughters. Ginny Cook is the narrator, as she expresses her point of view as the oldest child. So now comes the question: was the book worth the read? Well, personally I though that great themes were introduced into this novel such as gender roles. This was primarily for both girls still living on the farm (excluding caroline), whose primary job was to do housework, and were not able to work on the farm. Although they were portrayed as incapable, they were actually very strong and independant woman, as found out later in the book. This theme set up a framework for gender stereotypes. I think that anyone that enjoys reading about a successful story where the protagonist is able to live their own lives, without the influence of an overarching character, would enjoy this book a decent amount. I personally thought there was almost no plot, and the book moved very slowly until about the halfway mark. Jane Smiley’s style of writing was primarily focused on conflict in gender, as also shown in her other books. I personally did not like the focus of struggling women against men, but if you do, you will enjoy this book more than I did. So, as an overall score I would give it a 4 out of 10. My specific reasoning is my personally opinion on disliking the topic, but I semi enjoyed reading about a unique farming situation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story told by an analytical, introspective and hard working farm family. Well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maria walked her cat along the park trail. She waved to Oliver.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She yawns
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
A waste of my time. Pulitzer???
sainthelenaislandman More than 1 year ago
Lovely, seamless prose that transports you back to rural America. Ms. Smiley is a gifted writer, able through nuanced dialogue and subtle contextual descriptions to take you to a simpler place populated with a wide span of family and neighbors. Three cheers.
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