#1 in series

Some Luck

Book 1 in the series

3.61 based on 12747 ratings & 2167 reviews on Goodreads.com
Mantle

Publication date: 09.10.2014
ISBN: 9781447275626
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

Some Luck is the first novel in the dazzling Last Hundred Years trilogy from the winner of the Pulitzer Prize Jane Smiley; a literary adventure that will spans a century in America.

1920. After his return from the battlefields in France, Walter Langdon and his wife Rosanna begin their life together on a remote farm in Iowa. As time passes, their little family will grow: from Frank, the handsome, wilful first-born, to Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him; from Lillian, beloved by her mother, to Henry who craves only the world of his books; and Claire, the surprise baby, who earns a special place in her father's heart.

As Walter and Rosanna struggle to keep their family through good years and hard years - to years more desperate than they ever could have imagined, the world around their little farm will turn, and life for their children will be unrecognizable from what came before. Some will fall in love, some will have families of their own, some will go to war and some will not survive. All will mark history in their own way.

Tender, compelling and moving from the 1920s to the 1950s, told in multiple voices as rich as the Iowan soil, Some Luck is an astonishing feat of storytelling by a prize-winning author writing at the height of her powers.

In the media

Try to pin Jane Smiley down at your peril: she is as likely to write a campus novel (Moo) as a 14th-century historical saga (The Greenlanders) or a foray into the world of breeders and racetracks (Horse Heaven). Smiley has shown no great fondness for the miniature canvas, or for two inches of ivory; no willingness to be confined to a particular historical period, or location, or way of writing, although the last could perhaps (albeit reductively) be described as realist storytelling. It is storytelling in expansive mode, and perhaps more in evidence than ever in Some Luck, which is the first of a projected trilogy called The Last Hundred Years - a title that we can take literally. In this opening volume, we follow the story of the Langdons, an Iowan farming family, from 1920 to 1953, with a chapter for each year, a period that takes us from the aftermath of the first world war via the Depression and the second world war to the era of the atomic bomb . . . But Some Luck is not simply an observation of family life and the pressures it is naturally susceptible to; it is also a dissection of the idea of family, and of the truths its facade will shield from view.
Guardian
Some Luck opens with a Langdon family tree. Even before we get to know Rosanna, Walter, and their children, the sprawling branches reveal the scope of this novel, which begins in 1920. Smiley, who devotes a chapter per year to the Langdons' Iowa farm life, depicts both disasters and heartbreaks in an unruffled tone. The good news? This is the first of a trilogy. The bad news? We have to wait for the next volume.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
So here it is at last, the Great American Novel and, in retrospect, it seems obvious that the great Jane Smiley would be the one who wrote it. Some Luck is a Steinbeckian Little House on the Prairie: a rural tragedy, a domestic epic and an unassuming masterpiece. And, unlike most masterpieces, it's absorbing, witty, painful, pleasurable. You must read it.
Charlotte Mendelson, Booker/Orange Prize nominated author of Almost English and When We Were Bad