Golden Age

3.75 based on 1813 ratings & 419 reviews on Goodreads.com

The third novel in the dazzling Last Hundred Years Trilogy from the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

1987. A visit from a long-lost relative brings the Langdons together again on the family farm; a place almost unrecognisable from the remote Iowan farmland Walter and Rosanna once owned. Whilst a few have stayed, most have spread wide across the US, but all are facing social, economic and political challenges unlike anything their ancestors encountered.

Richie Langdon, finally out from under his twin brother's shadow, finds himself running for congress almost unintentionally, and completely underprepared for the world-changing decisions he will have to make. Charlie, the charmer, recently found, struggles to find his way. Jesse's son, Guthrie, set to take over the family farm, is deployed to Iraq, leaving it in the hands of his younger sister, Felicity, who must defend the land from more than just the extremes of climate change.

Moving through the 1990s, to our own moment and beyond, this last instalment sees the final repercussions of time on the Langdon family. After a hundred years of personal change and US history, filled with words unsaid and moments lost, Golden Age brings to a magnificent conclusion the century-long portrait of one unforgettable family.

Jane Smiley is a master of expansive, effortlessly readable sagas, and this is no exception.

The final, magnificent instalment in a trilogy of novels spanning the American century from 1919 to 2019, Golden Age opens in 1987 with a reunion of the central Langdon clan.

Their fortunes in the years that follow are intimately bound up with those of their nation, not least in the case of twins Michael and Richie, the former a Wall Street wolf and the latter an accidental politician who ends up in Clinton's White House.

Post-9/11, another family member is deployed to Iraq, yet Smiley's characters never seem like narrative pawns and are all beautifully drawn in their quirks, enmities and affections.


As deft at documenting private histories as official ones, she writes lightly but affectingly about ageing, a recurring theme along with the gathering storm of climate change.


Yet while we're left in no doubt as to the imminence of environmental catastrophe, this is a very funny novel, and when one character damns the 'baggy violet strangeness' that is fashion in 1989, most of us will, ruefully, identify.

Daily Mail
The phrase Great American Novel gets bandied about a little too liberally, but rarely is the Great American Novelist in question a woman. It is an accolade that Smiley (who won a Pulitzer for A Thousand Acres) richly deserves
The Pool
With the Last One Hundred Years trilogy, [Smiley] surely confirms her place alongside Roth, Updike and Bellow as one of the truly great chroniclers of 20th-century American life. . . The historical and political canvas of Golden Age is breathtaking in its expansiveness, and there is an epic quality to the trilogy as a whole. But Smiley is equally compelling on the domestic and familial . . . Reading the Last One Hundred Years trilogy [is] such a powerful, moving and rewarding experience; a rare chance to witness, from the sidelines, five generations of a family unfold
Guardian

About Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley is a novelist and essayist. Her novel A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992, and her novel The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton won the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1987. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, and her novel, Private Life, was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.

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Books by Jane Smiley

Early Warning
Early Warning
Some Luck
Some Luck

Books in the Series

Early Warning
Early Warning
Some Luck
Some Luck