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Lucky: Book summary and reviews of Lucky by Jane Smiley

Lucky

A Novel

by Jane Smiley

Lucky by Jane Smiley X
Lucky by Jane Smiley
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  • Published Apr 2024
    384 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, a soaring, soulful novel about a folk musician who rises to fame across our changing times.

Before Jodie Rattler became a star, she was a girl growing up in St. Louis. One day in 1955, when she was just six years old, her uncle Drew took her to the racetrack, where she got lucky—and that roll of two-dollar bills she won has never since left her side. Jodie thrived in the warmth of her extended family, and then—through a combination of hard work and serendipity—she started a singing career, which catapulted her from St. Louis to New York City, from the English countryside to the tropical beaches of St. Thomas, from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and back again. Jodie comes of age in recording studios, backstage, and on tour, and she tries to hold her own in the wake of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. Yet it feels like something is missing. Could it be true love? Or is that not actually what Jodie is looking for?

Full of atmosphere, shot through with longing and exuberance, romance and rock 'n' roll, Lucky is a story of chance and grit and the glitter of real talent, a colorful portrait of one woman's journey in search of herself.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Spellbinding ... Smiley neatly reverses the usual story of a 1970s singer [and then] orchestrates a seismic twist of staggering magnitude ... Every novel by Smiley is a surprise." —Booklist (starred review)

"Smiley follows the life of a budding folk rock singer in her tender if uneven latest...Though Smiley is known for snappier work than this one, it's plenty engrossing." —Publishers Weekly

"Intelligent and tough-minded, as Smiley's work always is, but capped by an oddly disjunctive finale." —Kirkus Reviews

"The final twist and thus the novel fail in large part because the epilogue introduces an abrupt structural shift and an unsatisfying change in narrative voice for which readers are not well-prepared and which takes the book in a different direction." —Library Journal

This information about Lucky was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jane Smiley Author Biography

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Last Hundred Years Trilogy: Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age. She is the author as well of several works of nonfiction and books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.

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  • Some Luck jacket

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