A well written book. It gives a dark picture of human nature. It portrays mankind as self-centered, manipulative, and vengeful. The worldview of this book would definitely be that men and women are basically sinful. Not a book for those looking for a "feel good" piece of literature.
My favorite book of all time. Just remember that it is a story of incest and how two sisters deal with it.
The parallels to King Lear in this novel are so well-crafted and so subtly slipped in that the reader would not realize it unless it was pointed out. Smiley does a brilliant job of constructing believable characters - some fragile, others strong, all of them fully rounded. The way she describes the farmland is unmatched. Definitely recommended.
Good story overall but I had a hard time getting through the first half. It was a little slow to me.
In spite of how dark and painful as this book was, I would have to say that I liked it. Smiley certainly did a great job of making me not want to put it down and I genuinely felt for the characters. The matter-of-fact way that unimaginable tragedy was woven in to the story and accepted by a hardened town of farmers seems like a testament to human endurance.
But what I was left with from this story is how each of our individual lives are shaped by our reactions more than our actions. Rose and Ginny at first seemed like similar farmer's wives, but when asked specific questions about their childhood (and general life experiences) you would think they were from different planets. We are that complex and our experiences are that personalized.
This story reminds me to muster at least compassion for others, even those that you always thought you "knew", because what lies under the surface will never be exactly what you imagine.
I will add that there is a hint in this story that the entire experience is really just a farm chemical acid trip, and maybe I could even find comfort in this explanation. Thought provoking book.