Reader reviews and comments on Some Luck, plus links to write your own review.

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Some Luck

by Jane Smiley

Some Luck by Jane Smiley X
Some Luck by Jane Smiley
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2014, 416 pages
    Jul 2015, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Alta Ifland

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Power Reviewer

Some Luck
Absolutely wonderful family saga. I fell in love with all the characters, the transitions between each one was incredibly well done, no make that flawless. The narrative has an easy, natural flow - simple yet detailed drawing the reader into the family fold. The beauty of the book - it takes an ordinary family dealing with everyday life and the roller coaster life can be. I could not put this book down, I cannot wait to continue the journey. Smiley is one incredible storyteller.

Multi-generational saga
This is the first book I've read by Ms. Smiley and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story follows Rosanna and Walter Langdon and their three children on their farm in Iowa. The Great Depression, drought and wars pull the family in various directions. I anxiously await the next two books of this trilogy to see what awaits the Langdons.
Susie J

Some Luck
It was with some luck that I was sent this amazing book by Jane Smiley to read for this web page. It arrived at a very busy time in my year and I feared I would be unable to meet my commitment. But once I began reading, I could not stop. In fact, I have read the book twice now and have even listened to sections of it. This is the first book in a trilogy about the Langdon farm family from Iowa that will cover 100 years - the first volume is from 1920-1953. Here we meet Rosanna and Walter and their six children, parents and in-lawsand immediate friends. We experience, literally, daily life on a farm in Iowa and watch the changes and growth in not only people but aptitudes, attitudes, nature, and so much more. When I first began reading this book, I couldn't get my mind around it. It seemed too simple in many ways. Characters were not as fleshed out as I thought they might be and events seemed somehow random or disconnected from one another. The more I read, however, the more deeply I came to care about and connect with these people and their land. This is a book filled with such depth it is almost impossible to grasp it immediately. The seeming innocence of these people is initially apparent, but the longer I read the more Smiley's writing style became apparent - symbolism, foreshadowing, character and setting detail and development, all were fuel to drive my reading on. This is a book that could be discussed well into the night by a book club. It is hard now to wait for the second book that is promised in the trilogy - perhaps yet this year. I recognize that this review is sadly lacking - but the book is that good - there is so much depth in so many areas of this book - best just to go to the book discussion and jump in.
Cheri Faith Spicer

Some Luck - Jane Smiley
I have such respect for authors and an immediate pull toward those whose work has garnered time-honored awards such as the Pulitzer. And, I put great stock in the opinion of critics and reviewers who have proven to operate with integrity and intelligence. After doing my homework and with these reasons behind me, I chose to read Jane Smiley's Some Luck.

Smiley takes the reader through the daily lives of an Iowa family. Each chapter covers a year, although only 1-2 situations are shared out of an entire year's span. One or two characters are featured and you learn a small bit of information about what makes that person who they are or how they effect the rest of the family.

After ten or so chapters, I wanted a change of pace and I do mean pace. Smiley's narrative moves as slowly as the time does for the members of the Langdon family. There is little to no stimulus from the outside world to get them motivated to make any change and as a result, I believe change frightens them, especially Walter, the head of the household. The family is insulated and confined to the world they have created on the farm. Smiley takes us as far into their minds as the characters will allow.

I appreciate the way she so aptly conveys the mentality of that time. The diversity between the husband and wife, the children and parents, the children with each other and the whole family with the others in their community is depicted clearly via the choices made or not by all involved.

This book is very deceptive. It reads as simple but transcends into varying forms of complexity emotionally, mentally and socio-economically. I look forward to seeing where the next two books go and how they get there!
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