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A Thousand Acres
A Thousand Acres
Author: Jane Smiley
A thousand acres, a piece of land of almost mythic proportions. Upon this fertile, nourishing earth, Jane Smiley has set her rich, breathtakingly dramatic novel of an American family whose wealth cannot stay the hand of tragedy. It is the intense, compelling story of a father and his daughters, of sisters, of wives and husbands, and of the human...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780449907481
ISBN-10: 0449907481
Publication Date: 8/18/1992
Pages: 400
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 281 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
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.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
My favorite book of all time. Just remember that it is a story of incest and how two sisters deal with it.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 376 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
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.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Good story overall but I had a hard time getting through the first half. It was a little slow to me.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
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reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 22 more book reviews
This was a pleasant surprise. Liked the characters and would like to read more of Smiley's books.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 31 more book reviews
When I first started reading the first 40 or so pages of this book I kept asking myself "How did this book earn a Pulitzer?" There is much talk about farming so I wasn't that interested. The characters were slowly revealing themselves, then bam! My answer to why it was a National Best Seller and earned a Pulitzer was more than answered in those 371 pages. Page after page I never expected this story to evolve the way it did. This book reveals human nature in all it's beauty and ugliness.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 5 more book reviews
Really great story that kept me reading. The plot was nothing like I had imagined and I
couldn't put the book down needing to know how it was all going to end.

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