Overall, I enjoyed this book and would certainly read more from Jane Smiley because her writing is very good. To be honest though, this novel lost me a bit in the last quarter, and I don't think it was just because I read another book in between the first bit and the last bit. I didn't understand many of the characters motivations for their behaviors and the timeline just sped up too fast. Very interested to read more set in Iowa though (this was set very near my hometown, Mason City), as she really captured the scenery and essence of the people quite well. I will say though to people not familiar with the agricultural Midwest, that a typical family is not filled with so much sexual assault, adultery, and murder - yikes.
"One thing was surely true about going to court. It had marvelously divided us from each other and from our old lives. There could be no reconciliation now." Pulitzer-prize winner Jane Smiley relocates "King Lear" to the Iowa farmlands. In this case, it's an aging father dividing up his farm, rather than his kingdom. Unlike Lear, there's little sympathetic about the father, who is far more malicious. Well-written and intense, it can be a somewhat grueling read for the sheer amount of pain the characters inflict on one another. Made into a film with Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and Jason Robards.
It's a page-turner, but good grief, what a family! Yow. This book won the Pulitzer back in the early 90's, and it's well-written of course, but I can honestly say my main impression is of stress - how can any group of people live with this kind of stress in their lives, ignoring it as much as possible, hiding things and then seeking revenge. You'd think they'd all keel over from the tension of it all.
It's hard to comment on this book. The story is complicated and at times you are angry at the characters but then that is a sign of a good book....
I enjoyed the story this book told, but it seem to really drag to get there.
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