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I'm quite suspicious of "award winning novels" because that can mean they are grim and inaccessible. The idea of reading some recent ManBooker prizewinners gives me the shudders. 1000 acres is certainly grim reading but if you are reading a modern re-telling of King Lear you wouldn't expect a barrel of laughs. Jane Smiley does a brilliant job of translating it to the mid-west and in the process sheds an interesting life on the Shakespearean source material. Her writing is tough but not overwrought and the story has the hideous inevitability of a Greek tragedy. I couldn't put it down - but I won't be re-reading it any time soon.
This book is so amazing. I can't believe the effective way that Smiley weaves the story of King Lear into a modern farming family in the Mid-West, and tells it from the character who equates to Goneril. I would dearly love to teach this book to my homeschooled high school students, but there is (sorry -- general spoilers -- look away now) adultery, a couple of sex scenes, and incest, which I think aren't appropriate for the students I teach. For adults, though, yeah -- a modern classic, and the author deserves all her accolades.
This book follows the fortunes and failures of a Mid-Western farming family. The initial situation is based on King Lear with three daughters vying for their father’s favours and affections. But don’t let that put you off. It follows its own narrative with its own plot, revelations and development. The family members are exposed not only to their own internal conflicts but also to powerful forces changing the world around them. An outstanding book that keeps the reader involved every step of the way.
A reworking of King Lear, this is a well-written modern day take on the Shakespearian play. It is interesting because the events which take place are seen through the eyes of one of the daughters. The father figure is a very strong uncompromising character who treats his daughters as possessions, there to do his bidding. Only the youngest daughter has escaped from the stiflingly rigid way of life in this farming community where everyone knows everyone else's business. The strong family structure disintegrates as events unfold. A really good read.
I enjoyed this book but it's not a 5 star read for me as I felt characters and situations were rather too black and white. There were no good men and the women were meant to be stars but were a bit pathetic. I don't feel the urge to rush out and read any of her other books but her writing is good and the story trips along quite nicely.