#2 in series

Early Warning

Book 2 in the series

3.83 based on 4107 ratings & 677 reviews on Goodreads.com
Macmillan Digital Audio

Publication date: 07.05.2015
ISBN: 9781447288091
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

1953. When a funeral brings the Langdon family together once more, they little realize how much, over the coming years, each of their worlds will shift and change. For now Walter and Rosanna's sons and daughters are grown up and have children of their own.
Frank, the eldest - restless, unhappy - ignores his troubled wife and instead finds himself distracted by a face from the past. Lillian must watch as her brilliant, eccentric husband Arthur is destroyed by the guilt arising from his secretive government work. Claire, too, finds that marriage is not quite what she expected it to be.
In Iowa where the Langdons began, Joe sees that some aspects of life on the farm never change, while others are unrecognizable. And though a few members of the family remain mired in the past, others will attempt to move beyond the lives they have always known; and some will push forward as never before. The dark shadow of the Vietnam War hangs over every one . . .
In sickness and health, through their best and darkest times, the Langdon family will live and love and suffer against the broad, merciless sweep of American history. Moving from the 1950s to the 1980s, Early Warning is epic storytelling at its most wise and compelling from a writer at the height of her powers.

In the media

Phenomenally powerful . . . Her cast is big, and growing all the time, but Smiley has a remarkable grip on all her characters . . . So unhurried, so comprehensive and so intimate is the access Smiley allows . . . we at once observe how families operate as organisms and feel ourselves embedded in a living, breathing one.

Comparisons have already been made with John Updike's towering Rabbit tetralogy, and both writers have an extraordinary ability to define what it is to be American at the most intimate level. But where Updike is the consummate stylist, Smiley speaks more plainly; where he is cool, she is warm. She is also very funny . . . and too finely intelligent to stoop to folksiness.

In fact, what Smiley feels most like here, for her faultless skill in bringing a wide cast so vividly into being that we would know them anywhere, for the remarkable intensity of her feeling for territory and landscape and her combination of impatient intellect, emotional perspicacity and unfailing humanity, is America's Tolstoy. The satisfactions of the first two volumes of this trilogy have been so complex and nourishing that the comparison seems justified, and the third instalment can't come soon enough.

Guardian
Jane Smiley is good on places, good on weather, good on meals, all of which matter. She is good too on the silences, the things left unsaid, out of tact or for discretion's sake, in family conversations. She has seen, remembered and imagined her characters very thoroughly, and she perceptively shows how people may change over the years, even while remaining very often essentially the same. She is good on love and desire, the cooling of love in some marriages, its strengthening in others. There is then a great deal to enjoy, and it's a novel in which many readers will happily lose themselves.
Scotsman
Here is one of America's leading novelists writing at the height, breadth and width of her powers. Magnificent.
Daily Mail