Some Luck

Some Luck

A Novel

eBook - 2014
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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres: a heartwarming, deeply engaging new novel-the life and times of an American farm family over three transformative decades-certain to become an instant classic. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family's land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who's not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father's heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family's triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smiley's dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2014.
ISBN: 9780385350396
0385350392
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Summary: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres: a heartwarming, deeply engaging new novel-the life and times of an American farm family over three transformative decades-certain to become an instant classic. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family's land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who's not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father's heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family's triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smiley's dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.

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c
ctkvlk
Aug 11, 2017

Enjoyable book. I always like a rural setting and this one is unique in it's chapter-a-year device. Simple storytelling well done with no unnecessary smut. A welcome change.

e
Einer2
May 28, 2017

It is a book that needs to be read over a few days. I put it down about 3/4 of the way through for a vacation and when I returned found it hard to recall all of the various characters. Also thought it was a bit choppy at the end. Not sure I will read the rest of the series.

p
pkelly7
Apr 03, 2017

I'm a Jane Smiley fan and I read this trilogy out of order - 2 then 3 and now 1. I have loved them all. They are not fast paced, but they are tender and wise and the characters stay with you for a long time.

multcolib_susannel Nov 21, 2016

The soft spoken, hard working story of a Norwegian immigrant family. Each chapter advances the story by a year.

c
cknightkc
Jul 09, 2016

For me, reading the episodic SOME LUCK about an ordinary Iowa family (circa 1920-1953) was as compelling as watching paint dry. A family saga told via a chapter for every year in their lives and from their different perspectives are intriguing ideas, but were not enough to keep my interest. I managed to finish it, but won’t be rushing out to read the subsequent books in this series.

j
Jeanneknits2
Jun 07, 2016

I should have liked this. A family saga spanning the years from 1920 to 1953 (each year one short chapter.) But as Smiley really focused on just a few of the large Langdon family, every time she mentioned one of the others, I was flipping back to the family tree. And, as none of the characters were fully explored I found I really didn't care. I thought this book would never end.

m
Margotdavid
May 04, 2016

Didn't like it so stopped reading.

e
EmilyEm
Oct 05, 2015

'The trilogy begins on a family farm in 1920. A young couple, Walter and Rosanna Langdon, are just setting out on their own. Eventually they will have five children. The oldest, Frank, is what Smiley calls "the trunk of the tree" — smart, handsome and restless. But Smiley gives each of the Langdon children a turn in the spotlight, filling in the details of their lives and drawing the reader into a story meant to last a long time. "I wanted to watch the characters in the book from birth to, in some cases, death," she says. "And I wanted to watch their lives develop. And so I got them born and I set them on their paths, and they had to find mates and find lives."' --From Lynn Neary at NPR

I can hardly wait for the next two books. Wow. Maybe it’s the farm girl in me or my interest in family history, but this will, without a doubt, be a top read of the year for me. Loved her one-chapter-per-year storytelling and her writing from all the characters points of view, even the toddlers!

a
avratt
Sep 14, 2015

A very "comfortable" and enjoyable read. I thoroughly enjoyed following this family and became emeotionally tied to all the characters.
I eagerly await the rest of this proposed trilogy.

h
harrissusanc
May 30, 2015

Something about the other generation- the life I heard in stories - makes Some Luck feel more romantic than Early Warning, even though it grips with realism. Every character so alive in the "simple life" of the era. Each year has fragments of different people all related. I love is the way things happen by chance and build into narrative. The old girlfriend walking down the street. The job from the man in the army. And then it's a trilogy.

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