Some Luck Pdf Summary
On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family’s land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who’s not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father’s heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family’s triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smiley’s dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family’s land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who’s not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father’s heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family’s triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smiley’s dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.v
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4.0 out of 5 stars Middle-American Dynastic Saga
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 22, 2016
Suffering acutely from “Downton Abbey Withdrawal” now that the great saga of the Crawley family is concluded, I cast around for something literary and satisfyingly toothsome to take its place. I thought perhaps I would re-read the great Forsyte Saga for the umpteenth time, but then I thought, no, I must try something else. And so I found Some Luck by the prolific American writer Jane Smiley, and I think that it will do nicely for now. This is the first of a sweeping trilogy that spans nearly a century, and it was a National Book Award nominee and flows from the highly accomplished pen of the author who won the Pulitzer Prize for her book A Thousand Acres. It begins in the small farming town of Denby, Iowa in 1920, with the patriarchal couple of Rosanna and Walter Langdon welcoming into the world their first child, Frank. Joe comes next, and then many more children, but the two elder boys are the focal point of this book, and the story of their lives unspools fascinatingly as the reader is given a harrowing, up close and personal look into small family farm life in the roaring twenties, and then the Great Crash, the Depression, and the Dust Bowl of the thirties, followed by World War II and the boom years that followed. It is eventually the story, too, of how what is called The Great Generation was formed.
Smiley is a Dickens scholar and a huge admirer of the great Victorian storyteller, and so his influence is abundantly clear in her own work. Like Dickens works, this novel is plotted at a spanking pace, the characters are many and varied but always interesting, great tides of history and human empathy sweep through the book and the reader comes to know and care intensely for these very sympathetic characters. My only criticism of the book is perhaps that it is not Dickensian enough, in the sense that Smiley is almost too egalitarian in giving every character equal time and not focusing enough on the stories of Frank and Joe, who are far and away the more interesting characters in the book. Each short chapter is a calendar year, and each of the many characters has to be heard from in each chapter, so the inevitable result is a regrettable dilution of the more important characterizations. Dickens would never have let you lose sight of the main character, no many how many picturesque minor characters might swarm through his story.
Still, it is a gripping and highly satisfying story, told with great skill and panache, and the reader is borne along the bumpy ride that is every American family. The detailed and sensitive portrayal of everyday farm life in the rural America of our grandparents’ time is fascinating and we come to care for these characters almost as if they are members of our own family. Every reader of a certain age will see parts of himself or herself in these brilliantly defined and portrayed characters, and feel a lively kinship to their experience of growing up in the America of the last century.
5.0 out of 5 stars The first book in an interesting trilogy about an American farm family named Langdon.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 4, 2020
This author (Jane Smiley) has achieved a successful novel career focusing on family issues, problems, situations, life, conflicts and loves. This is the first book (Some Luck: a novel by Jane Smiley) in a trilogy about an American family beginning on a farm in 1920, in Denby, Iowa. Walter and Rosanna Langdon just had a son, named Frank, who will be the oldest of five.
This novel is organized so each chapter covers a year as the family explains to their children the essential values of living an honest and hard working life on an American farm. The various historical issues from 1920 to the early 1950s make this epic trilogy a pure joy to read. The writer weaves the story in a way that makes you turn the pages to find out what other issues they have to deal with in their family life.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Never trust a politician: A critical review of politics and politicians).
4.0 out of 5 stars Rural life not always a bowl of cherries.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 14, 2014
If Jane Smiley ever came across my reviews, she would probably say, “Well, that Philistine clearly doesn’t understand the deep meanings, subtle character developments, and clever deconstructionism of this novel.” I don’t think she would be quite right, but I admit now to reading novels for pleasure rather than to engage in critical analysis. I’m glad I was a political science rather than an English major. There’s no fiction in politics – nothing but straightforward, clear analysis. 🙂 In English however, there can be many hidden meanings.
I’m a great fan of Jane Smiley’s books, and “Some Luck” was a charming, warm-hearted read. I enjoyed every page. The chronological progression, from 1920 through 1953, allowed the characters to come of age, or go from younger to older adult status, or retain or abandon the farming gene. Character development was superb. This was life on an Iowa family farm, with all its vicissitudes – people grow old, some die, kids grow up (some leaving and some staying to continue farming). All have flaws/weaknesses, but none of those flaws are dramatically debilitating. The novel includes no murders, no violence (except killing of the animals, which can be chalked up to a normal feature of the farming business), no evil folks (most hats are neither black nor white, but very light gray).
Farming turns out to be a tough business, with lots of uncertainty, harsh conditions, and room for plenty of agonizing decision-making. For me, the title “Some Luck” means that no matter how hard a farmer works, s/he must rely on some degree of luck in order to keep going. I’m sure there are other, more sophisticated interpretations of “some luck,” but I’m okay with the simple explanation.
The Kindle edition of “Some Luck” includes a reading group guide consisting of 21 questions. I’m very glad I didn’t see these questions till I had finished the book. Number 6, for example, states that “Throughout the story Frank is described as persistent, if not out-right stubborn. How does this quality help him in his life? Does it hinder him?” Frank was one of my favorite characters and I enjoyed his persistence. But I wasn’t interested in analyzing whether it hindered him in life. Maybe that’s why I avoid joining book clubs. You need to have an opinion about virtually everything you read. That’s too reminiscent of grad school for me. I don’t mind pondering meanings when I feel like it, but not for every word. (4-1/2 stars)
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Luck
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 27, 2017
A somewhat interesting story about an ever growing family. The book was hard to get into; however, once you were into it you had to keep reading to find out how it finished.
At times, I felt there was far too much detail. I also felt that some of the characters were not developed as well as they could have been. I read this for a book club discussion. I read the Kindle version, whereas many people in our book club had the printed version. The printed copy had a family tree in the front of the book which was quite helpful, as their were many family members. The Kindle version did not have this unfortunately. This author has written two more books in this trilogy.
I guess I would recommend this book, however I don’t think I will go on to read book 2 and 3, at least not right now.
About Jane Smiley Author of Some Luck Pdf Book
Jane Smiley Author of Some Luck Pdf Book is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University. Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster’s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century Americans chick lit.
In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Some Luck pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Knopf; 1st edition (October 7, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307700313
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307700315
- Item Weight : 1.76 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.61 x 1.37 x 9.56 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #12,379 in Family Saga Fiction
- #51,892 in American Literature (Books)
- #52,149 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1,346 ratings
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