Monday, December 19, 2011

A Thousand Acres - Review

Jane Smiley won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres, a novel about an Iowa farm family.  Since I was on my way to Iowa (though not to a farm family), I thought this would be a good read.  I was right.  True to form with good books, I ended up staying up late one might to finish the last 100 pages.
A Thousand Acres moves through the mundane details of farm life - cans of used nails, repairing tractors, cows in corn fields after harvest, etc, etc, etc.  But through the slow trudge through minutia, Smiley also reflects on the relationships and deeper meanings of life that find expression in these microscopic realia. 
This is a story of sin, abuse, recovery, failure, transition, selfishness, unselfishness, humilty, and even - barely - healing.  While I typically hope for more positive resolution, the final chapter of the book is one of the best I've ever read in terms of sheer poignancy. 
The Josh rating: JJJJ.

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