All About Books discussion

A Thousand Acres
This topic is about A Thousand Acres
42 views
Group Reads - Fiction > A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (Group Fiction Read August 2016)

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Shirley | 4177 comments Please feel free to discuss our August Group Fiction Read in this discussion thread!


Leslie | 15985 comments I am looking forward to this!


Shirley | 4177 comments Me too, I have it reserved at my library.


Greg | 7684 comments Mod
I'll definitely join this one! :)


LauraT (laurata) | 13525 comments Mod
I've read it right now because of an unother group read; really interesting. I'll join the discussion for certain


Portia I read it a few years ago and am looking forward to everyone's comments. I've read a number of Smiley's books and have read King Lear and seen it performed more than once. Smiley proves what we all know about the universality of art: the human condition is the same, whether the story is set in ancient Britain or the American Midwest in The 20th Century.

Super choice!


Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Portia wrote: "I read it a few years ago and am looking forward to everyone's comments. I've read a number of Smiley's books and have read King Lear and seen it performed more than once. Smiley prove..."

Maybe I'll re-read King Lear Portia - I haven't read it in a while, and I think I've never seen that particular Shakespeare play performed.


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 572 comments Such a 5 star book!!!!!
This will be a great book to discuss.
I listened to it on Audible and the narrator was excellent.
Actually, I am exhausted now, I feel as though I lived through this book...I will comment (on the beginning) when I get my thoughts together. I didn't mean to finish it so fast, but I got involved with the characters and kept thinking about them while I was doing other things.


Shirley | 4177 comments I've started this today. My version has tiny writing, I hope I'll be able to manage it!!


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 572 comments I definitely have a few things to say, but they will be all spoilers at this point, so I am going to wait a while.


Leslie | 15985 comments I should be starting today or tomorrow.


Leslie | 15985 comments I am not very far in (at the start of Chapter 7, p. 36) but I am finding myself suspicious of this Marv Carson person...


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 572 comments Leslie wrote: "I am not very far in (at the start of Chapter 7, p. 36) but I am finding myself suspicious of this Marv Carson person..."

And rightly so


Leslie | 15985 comments I am finding this very easy to read -- it sucks me right in. I have just finished Part 3 (which had some pretty disturbing developments!) and while I like the first person narration, I keep wondering what the 3rd sister is doing or thinking...


message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim (kimborams) | 301 comments Just finished this and really enjoyed it -
This story is all about family: American Mid-West farmer, Larry Cook, and his three daughters, Ginny, Rose and Caroline. Ginny and Rose have married and stayed in the farming community, helping Dad run his 1000-acre farm whilst Caroline, the youngest, has moved away and qualified as a lawyer. It is a pleasant and interesting tale of American farming family life for the first half of the book. But, when Larry decides to sign the farm over to his two elder daughters and their husbands to run, a move which Caroline opposes and for which Larry shuts her out, the scene is set for a family tragedy. Pretty soon, the 'bombs' start to go off and the family is soon at each other's throats, with the readers' sympathies being very much steered towards the elder sisters Ginny and Rose, who find themselves in conflict with Larry and Caroline, although even they have skeletons in the closet. Apparently, the author intended to make this a modern-day version of King Lear, but written from the point of view of the daughters. Smiley considers that Lear doesn't really know what love is - it is all about making him feel better, he is essentially narcissistic and inappropriately vindictive towards his daughters and this is reflected in Larry's character in this novel. This was a great piece of writing and a worthy winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 - 9.5/10.


Maria I had never heard of this book or this author but I am so glad I read it now. It was one of those can not put down books, where I just wanted to know what would happen next.

My life is so very different from Ginny's (naturally) but I found myself constantly relating to circumstances in my own life. It really made me think about the dynamics of family.


message 17: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 12181 comments Mod
I'm still on July's read. But I really hope to get to this one because I can use it for my bingo challenge. I'm glad that those who have read in this group have rated it so highly.


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 572 comments This story was apparently made into a movie some time ago, starting Jason Robarts, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Jason Leigh - sounds like a great cast.

I can identify with the family dynamics. The characters could be composites of people in my own extended family.

Men like that will always think that way and there will always be others in the community who agree with them. It's a kind of "me against the world" mentality and anything can be justified. "Whatever it takes" to be in control and keep up appearances.

(view spoiler)


message 19: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim (kimborams) | 301 comments Terry wrote: "This story was apparently made into a movie some time ago, starting Jason Robarts, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Jason Leigh - sounds like a great cast.

I can identify with the fam..."


Quite agree with your comments, Terry, especially those in the 'spoiler'. I would have been tempted to do the same!!


Leslie | 15985 comments I couldn't put it down today so I am now finished and WOW!

Terry wrote: "I can identify with the family dynamics. The characters could be composites of people in my own extended family. ..."

I agree with your spoiler comment Terry!


message 21: by Shirley (last edited Aug 09, 2016 10:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shirley | 4177 comments Leslie wrote: "I am finding this very easy to read -- it sucks me right in. I have just finished Part 3 (which had some pretty disturbing developments!) and while I like the first person narration, I keep wonderi..."

I'm 66% of the way through now, and am finding this a very absorbing read! I was tempted to read late into the night but I have work today...


LauraT (laurata) | 13525 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Terry wrote: "This story was apparently made into a movie some time ago, starting Jason Robarts, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Jason Leigh - sounds like a great cast.

I can identif..."


I do agree. but up to a certain point. They both had centered their life on that farm: it needed a big shock to "exit" from that perspective!


message 23: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
I've just begun, only about 30 pages in. A lot of characters to keep track of in the beginning as several neighbors are introduced/mentioned, many of them without much detail yet. I'm liking it though and curious where this is going to go!


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 572 comments Oh yeah, it was easy for me to say I would leave and never look back - the two sisters didn't know any other life and what kind of job could they get to adaquately support themselves when all they knew was farming?


message 25: by Greg (last edited Aug 11, 2016 12:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
I'vr gotten a little further (the middle of chapter 10), and I'm starting to love it!

My favorite part so far is Jess' confessions in chapter 8. When he told Ginny about (view spoiler), I was deeply moved. Such a sad situation (view spoiler).

Even this early in the book, I'm struck by the terrible significance of those little actions & moments that can cause lifelong breaches. What a difference if (chapter 7) (view spoiler), if just that one moment could be changed .. or if (chapter 8) (view spoiler).


message 26: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Terry wrote: " It's a kind of "me against the world" mentality and anything can be justified. "Whatever it takes" to be in control and keep up appearances...."

This definitely seems to be a part of what's motivating the characters Terry. I'll hold off on opening your spoiler for now since I'm only in chapter 10.

Maria wrote: " It really made me think about the dynamics of family. ..."

Definitely Maria!


LauraT (laurata) | 13525 comments Mod
Greg wrote: "Terry wrote: " It's a kind of "me against the world" mentality and anything can be justified. "Whatever it takes" to be in control and keep up appearances...."

This definitely seems to be a part o..."


I think this is something that was, or is, still quite common in rural or little centres: apparences more than reality ...


message 28: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Just finished chapter 24, and I'm in shock - this took a turn; I suppose I should've expected something like this, but I didn't at all.

I also like how Smiley links the miscarriages to (view spoiler). Quite possible, though I hadn't anticipated this either.

At first, I thought this novel was a brilliant depiction of ordinary family dynamics, all the petty jealousies and grievances. But now, the story has stepped into different territory entirely. I can't stop reading!


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 572 comments Greg wrote: "Just finished chapter 24, and I'm in shock - this took a turn; I suppose I should've expected something like this, but I didn't at all.

I also like how Smiley links the miscarriages to [spoilers ..."


I'm glad you are enjoying this book, Greg. It is one of the best I have read this year, so far.


message 30: by Greg (last edited Sep 01, 2016 07:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg | 7684 comments Mod
Terry wrote: "I'm glad you are enjoying this book, Greg. It is one of the best I have read this year, so far. ..."

It's getting better and better Terry! Interesting too how everything has flipped on its head for me - at first I was (view spoiler).


LauraT (laurata) | 13525 comments Mod
YesGreg: things get changed in this book! Or at least they do change in your idea of them ...


back to top