Golden Age is the third novel in the dazzling Last Hundred Years Trilogy from Jane Smiley, 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 unrecognizable 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 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
Sam Baker, 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.
Hannah Beckerman, Guardian