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Dramatic,
Epic,
Brilliant

5 reviews

A Thousand Acres: A Novel
by Jane Smiley

Published: 2011-01-05
Kindle Edition : 385 pages
7 members reading this now
22 clubs reading this now
8 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 4 of 5 members
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 ...
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Introduction

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 humanity.

Editorial Review

Aging Larry Cook announces his intention to turn over his 1,000-acre farm--one of the largest in Zebulon County, Iowa--to his three daughters, Caroline, Ginny and Rose. A man of harsh sensibilities, he carves Caroline out of the deal because she has the nerve to be less than enthusiastic about her father's generosity. While Larry Cook deteriorates into a pathetic drunk, his daughters are left to cope with the often grim realities of life on a family farm--from battering husbands to cutthroat lenders. In this winner of the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Smiley captures the essence of such a life with stark, painful detail.

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Having Ginny narrate gives us a very limited perspective on the other characters' motives - does she or her readers ever understand the whys behind others' actions?
What are the differences between appearance and reality, and how does that come out in the book?
Was the outcome of the novel fated or could it have been prevented? What caused the ultimate downfall of the farm?
by mbell7 (see profile) 12/19/13

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by barbarak (see profile) 09/03/19

 
by angelk5 (see profile) 09/24/17

 
by DebraWatsonMarshall (see profile) 08/15/15

 
  "Sad read, great discussion"by mbell7 (see profile) 12/19/13

I haven't read King Lear, but it's really not necessary to read first as A Thousand Acres stands on its own just as well. After all the events of the story, Ginny reflects on what happened - what went... (read more)

 
  "A Thousand Acres"by erakak (see profile) 05/22/10

 
  "the tale of three sisters"by cshelley27 (see profile) 10/24/09

Shakespearean tragedy set in rural America. Enjoyed the book but it left me with the feeling that I had missed something in the story. Many unanswered questions but maybe that's the point. Generated discussion... (read more)

 
  "A Modern-Day King Lear"by donnadeleon (see profile) 10/19/08

A good read on its own, but a great parallel to a reading or viewing of Shakespeare's King Lear. Plenty here for discussion.

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