Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > A Thousand Acres

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message 1: by Merrin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:12PM) (new)

Merrin | 9 comments I decided a year ago to read the Pulitzer list, because I'd read a couple and enjoyed them, and I figured that if it won a prize, it had to be good, right? I was so wrong.

A Thousand Acres is a modern retelling of King Lear, minus the kingdom and plus some incest and creepiness. Like a true Shakesperean tragedy, it was misery piled upon misery to the point that I just couldn't take it any more. Mercifully, by the time I reached that point the book was over.

I feel like it should count for two in crossing it off the Pulitzer list.

message 2: by Steve (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new)

Steve | 8 comments I thought it was solid but not great. Although a lot of disasters befell the central characters, I wasn't especially moved. Maybe my misery threshold is much, much higher than yours!

Give me the full on tragedy of Shakespeare any day.

message 3: by Merrin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Merrin | 9 comments It's a distinct possibility. :)

message 4: by Mary Ellen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Mary Ellen (mary_iatrop) | 24 comments Oh wow, I could not disagree more! I read A Thousanc Acres in grad school as part of a semester-long King Lear seminar, and after months of reading the historical precursors, the Quarto, Folio, AND moderly-edited editions, AND the Beckett +Bond philosophical/political adaptations, A Thousand Acres was pretty much a feel-good read.

It's also one of the few books I've ever read that elicited a physical reaction from me. The wording of her realization that her father molested her sent goosebumps prickling down my spine. So deliciously creepy, in a quasi-Nabakovian way. Maybe not everyone delights in the creep factor.

My mom would agree with you, though. She was born and raised in Iowa and when she heard I was reading A Thousand Acres, her first response was "oh, that dreadful thing that made all farmers look like child molesters?"

message 5: by T.K. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

T.K. Kenyon | 15 comments I agree! The unrelenting whining of the book turned me quite off. I like the Lear-i-ness of it, and I went to grad school in Iowa so I liked the Iowa-ness of it, but geez! Incest, again? I'm so tired of incest!

TK Kenyon
Author of RABID: A Novel
"a genre-bending story, part thriller, part literary slapdown." --Booklist Starred Review

Tho I hope RABID is never reviewed here!

message 6: by Merrin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Merrin | 9 comments I think it's another example of "takes all kinds". :) It gave me a physical reaction, but wanting to throw up at some of the scenes may or may not have been what the author was going for.

Maybe if I'd read it in the context you did, as part of a semester course on King Lear I might have liked it better, but coming as it did after books with clearly defined heroes and a rather uplifting quality to them, it was way too much of a downer.

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