Julia Reed's Reviews > Private Life

Private Life by Jane Smiley
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's review
Jun 07, 2011

really liked it

What I really enjoyed about A Private Life is that it's essentially a book where nothing happens, and it's great. The title encompasses the story, this is a book about a woman's private life, a reasonably long, occasionally happy life, in which she never becomes famous (and neither does her husband, though he tries), or does very much at all beyond getting married, living, having children, and dying. But in Smiley's hands, a quiet person's quiet life becomes a stage on which important, human stories play out. After all, most of us lead private lives, but that doesn't make the events of them any less important to us or to our families. For all that Margaret Early's life lacks a dash of the fantastic, I could not put her story down for one minute.

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