Khris Sellin's Reviews > A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
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's review
Dec 13, 2011

really liked it
Read from December 07 to 13, 2011

A retelling of King Lear, set on a vast farm in Iowa. Larry Cook, goaded by his friend Harold Clark and conniving banker Marv Carson, decides to turn over his land to his daughters and their husbands. The youngest daughter, Caroline, objects and refuses to sign off on the deal, so it is left to the two older daughters, Ginny and Rose, and their husbands, Ty and Pete respectively.

It soon becomes clear to the two sisters that their father has gone off the deep end, and the superficial civility that has ruled all their lives for years gets gradually peeled away and all the insecurities and pent-up anger and hatred are soon pulled to the fore.

Complicating matters even further, Harold's son Jess has returned after 13 years away (he had been drafted in the Vietnam War but decided to make a run for Canada instead). He nestles himself maybe a bit too comfortably into the Cooks' family life, which only contributes to the hell that is about to break loose.

The author has a real grasp on all those hidden anxieties we all carry around with us and the explosive ways they can show themselves, and how family dynamics play a role in shaping who we are.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Carannante Funny that we were just talking about family dynamics.

Khris Sellin Kristen wrote: "Funny that we were just talking about family dynamics."

Yes. But if you read this book, you would be more appreciative of your own family dynamics; that's for sure...

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