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A Thousand Acres

de Jane Smiley

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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6,1831371,599 (3.71)1 / 413
Fiction. Literature. HTML:This powerful twentieth-century reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear centers on a wealthy Iowa farmer who decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. Ambitiously conceived and stunningly written, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride??and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humani… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porValerie.Powell, sprovierilu, biblioteca privada, EmilyAnsell, Amateria66, ReganW, jammysams, TigerBeast79, BookNook-Cadillac
Bibliotecas HistóricasGillian Rose
  1. 80
    King Lear de William Shakespeare (browner56)
    browner56: The original and a modern retelling of a powerful story involving some very strong women
  2. 10
    Plainsong de Kent Haruf (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Similar treatment of broad-open landscapes and middle American family values.
  3. 00
    The Lobster Kings de Alexi Zentner (kjgormley)
    kjgormley: They are both King Lear retellings.
  4. 00
    Housekeeping de Marilynne Robinson (sturlington)
  5. 01
    The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 de James Shapiro (amarie)
    amarie: Insight into King Lear source and everything else happening that year.
  6. 01
    We Were the Mulvaneys de Joyce Carol Oates (AlisonY)
    AlisonY: Similarities in terms of relationships that breakdown between families. Both are like watching a car crash in slow motion.
AP Lit (75)
1990s (242)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 135 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
What an incredible book; it is definitely going down on my list of best books for 2024. I knew by the end of the first chapter that I was going to love it, and I did partly because of the writing, but also because I understand how some inheritances can cause friction in families.

Three sisters, Ginny, Rose and Caroline were raised on a farm, 1000 acres, by their father after their mother had died. Many years later at a family gathering, their father announced that he was giving the farm over to his daughters which Rose and Ginny accepted but Caroline asked to think about it. In a fit of pique, their father cut her out of the will and handed the farm over to the two sisters and their husbands, both of whom worked on it. And, it is at this point that you know things are going to go downhill.

If this plot sounds familiar to you, it is because Smiley has hung her plot on King Lear. Lear leaves his kingdom to the two daughters who flatter him through their behaviour and inability to stand up to him, cutting out of his inheritance his third daughter who was the only one that truly loved him. This all happened as he slowly sank into madness.

Ginny and Rose had lives that must at times have felt overwhelming. They cleaned and cooked in their own houses and then went over to their father's to do his house work and also helped on the farm. The cleaning was not just a bit of dusting but full-scale taking down of curtains to wash and starch them and moving furniture to hoover underneath (?!). In reality, this obsessive cleaning was a way to restore order in their lives which were really in chaos. They both had marriages that weren't working, Rose had breast cancer and Ginny had had five miscarriages. The story is told through Ginny's eyes and she is drawn as someone who always wants to give people the benefit of the doubt, to restore harmony, whilst Rose is a fighter, standing up for herself and her children and facing reality. This difference in attitude also leads to differing memories of their father.

Rose remembers that he beat them and sexually abused them whilst Ginny has pushed these memories from her mind. Eventually, through a series of every day events and domestic chores, Ginny recalls these events and realises the damage her father has caused. Caroline, who was protected from her father by her sisters, refuses to contenance anything anything such as this and has a relationship with her father that is oblivious. Hinted at in the book is the idea that her father may also have been a victim of sexual abuse.

What is portrayed vividly is the difference between appearances and reality. Everything that happened to the family Ginny viewed through the filter of wondering what the neighbours would think. A 'good' farm was one that was well-maintained and tidy with everyone judged by this standard, with wives judged by their ability to keep the farm out of the house. There were people who pretended to be friends of the family but really weren't with the pastor being one of these people. There were the missing emotions and sex in their marriages which appeared on the surface to be working but weren't and in the end there was the gap between Rose and Ginny over a man, Jess, who like a prodigal son had returned home after being away for over a dceade. Both women slept with him but Rose was clear about his behaviours where Ginny wasn't. To Ginny, he was a man who wanted to farm differently, who noticed her and for whom sex was more than the creation of a child. To Rose he was a man obsessed with eating the right things, meditating at the exact rise of the sun and running - as if farm work weren't physical enough.

Their father was seen in the community as one of the best farmer (neat and tidy), wise and dependable but of course the daughters knew the reality behind closed doors. This is what happens when families keep secrets. The reality ends up being so different from the appearance and there were a lot of secrets in this family.

Smiley's writing is wonderful: precise, descriptive and structured for effect. There are several shocking events towards the end of the book with each one having a lengthy build up only for the event to be over and done with in one short paragraph, leaving you slightly winded. Her descriptions of place and community make me think that she must have lived a rural life herself.

This is a book about families and relationships, about the damage secrets can do, about order and chaos, about inheritance and fairness but what Smiley has slyly done is inject a theme of eco-awareness into the book.

At the start, the descriptions of the place are grounding and almost idyllic. There is a long section where we read about the land and the swamp that it is but, as in so much of America, the land was drained by manually digging trenches and laying tiles and pipes to take the water down to the well. It was these trenches that allowed the family to farm the land but also allowed herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers to run with the water into the well and poison all who drank the water causing cancer and miscarriages. It is a very Shakespearean idea to prosper and kill from the same event.

I am no the lookout for more of Smiley's work. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | May 7, 2024 |
Heredarás la tierra
Jane Smiley
Publicado: 1991 | 386 páginas
Novela Drama

Todo parecía apacible en las tierras fértiles de Zebulon County, Iowa, cuando el irascible Larry Cook decidió, en una noche del año 79 —la misma en que celebraban todos el retorno del inquietante Jess Clark—, repartir entre sus tres hijas los mil acres que pertenecieron por cuatro generaciones a la familia. Todo habría seguido la misma rutina de no ser porque, de repente, el viejo Larry Cook, en una especie de proceso senil, empieza a vagar en camioneta por el paisaje, a beber como un cosaco y a armar líos por todas partes. La presencia insidiosa del joven Clark, partidario de una agricultura alternativa, tampoco es ajena a la inquietud que se apodera de las hermanas, quienes ya no consiguen frenar la visión detestable de un padre temible e incestuoso. Los sentimientos de venganza, celos, odio y amor, largamente sofocados, afloran a la par que el veneno que asola aquel verano las tierras, y la tensión que exaspera a sus habitantes irá también atrapando al lector en la trama densa de una tragedia shakesperiana.
  libreriarofer | Feb 20, 2024 |
It's helpful to have a good working knowledge of Shakespeare's King Lear in order to read, appreciate, and discuss this book. The story is appropriately set in Iowa, a state that highly values its land, where many small town attorneys would find the characters and events quite plausible. ( )
  maryelisa | Jan 16, 2024 |
I was unprepared for the magnitude of this bitter, phenomenal story. ( )
  KristinDiBum | Jul 21, 2023 |
A dysfunctional Iowa farming family falls apart when the patriarch decides to leave his thousand-acre property to two of his three daughters. His mental state deteriorates. Family infighting ensues. A neighbor’s son, who had gone to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft, returns to the area and develops relationships with two women. It is set in 1979, a time when family farming was becoming increasingly difficult.

Protagonist Ginny, eldest of three sisters, is the narrator. She is married with no children. Her mother died at an early age and she has had to play a motherly role in her sisters’ lives. It is not a cheery story. Several female characters have experienced abuse. The writing is eloquent. It is character driven and none of the characters is particularly likeable. The plot is about a farming life and the relationships among the characters.

I liked the first half of the story better than the second. This book is a retelling of King Lear. It is not essential to know ahead of time in order to enjoy it; however, if I had figured it out sooner, some of the plot transitions, which seem to come out of the blue, would have made more sense.

This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. I am slowly making my way through Jane Smiley’s catalogue. My favorite remains The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, which I highly recommend.

3.5
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 135 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Does this sound familiar?

At the opening of Jane Smiley's latest novel, "A Thousand Acres," the narrator, a woman named Virginia Cook Smith, describes the farm in Zebulon County, Iowa, that she and her two younger sisters, Rose and Caroline, have grown up on: "Paid for, no encumbrances, as flat and fertile, black, friable and exposed as any piece of land on the face of the earth."

And then comes the shock of recognition. In 1979, the three sisters' father, Laurence (Larry) Cook, decides to form a corporation out of his farm holdings and give each of his daughters a third of it. What do they think of the plan? "It's a good idea," says the oldest, who is called Ginny. "It's a great idea," says the second daughter, Rose. "I don't know," says the youngest, Caroline, who is a lawyer.

"You don't want it, my girl, you're out," says Larry to Caroline. "It's as simple as that." So the farm is divided into two instead of three, with Ginny and Rose to take turns looking after Larry. And a tragedy of ingratitude, madness and generational conflict begins. . . .
adicionado por PLReader | editarNY Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (Oct 31, 1991)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Smiley, Janeautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Bates, KathyNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Cartano, FrançoiseTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Elligers, AnneTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stålmarck, YlvaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:This powerful twentieth-century reimagining of Shakespeare's King Lear centers on a wealthy Iowa farmer who decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. Ambitiously conceived and stunningly written, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride??and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humani

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