Some Luck (Paperback)

By Jane Smiley

Anchor Books, 9780307744807, 416pp.

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

October 2014 Indie Next List

“With a novel as expansive and rich as the fertile farm grounds of Iowa, Smiley returns to the Midwest. Fans of her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres will welcome this homecoming, the sweeping story of Walter and Rosanna Langdon's lives from 1920 to 1953. Memorable events - the Dust Bowl, the Depression, the McCarthy hearings, the Korean War - are all intertwined with the roller coaster of farm family life. The first volume in a planned trilogy, Some Luck is a celebration of the American family set against the backdrop of the land that will become the 'bread basket of the nation.'”
— Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA
View the List
Advertisement

Description

National Book Award Nominee

A Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Financial Times, The Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, BookPage

1920, Denby, Iowa: Rosanna and Walter Langdon have just welcomed their firstborn son, Frank, into their family farm. He will be the oldest of five.

Each chapter in this extraordinary novel covers a single year, encompassing the sweep of history as the Langdons abide by time-honored values and pass them on to their children. With the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change through the early 1950s, we watch as the personal and the historical merge seamlessly: one moment electricity is just beginning to power the farm, and the next a son is volunteering to fight the Nazis. Later still, a girl we'd seen growing up now has a little girl of her own.

The first volume of an epic trilogy from a beloved writer at the height of her powers, Some Luck starts us on a literary adventure through cycles of birth and death, passion and betrayal that will span a century in America.


About the Author

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2006 she received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. What do you think the title means? Whose luck does it refer to? Is it only good or bad luck, or does the word “luck” shift in connotation as the novel goes forward?generic viagra price canada
  2. Each chapter in the novel takes place over the course of one year. How does Smiley use this structure to propel her story?generic viagra price canada
  3. How does Mary Elizabeth’s death affect Rosanna? How does it change her relationship with the children who follow?generic viagra price canada
  4. Throughout the story, Frank is described as persistent, if not outright stubborn. How does this quality help him in his life? Does it hinder him?generic viagra price canada
  5. Over the course of the three decades Some Luck spans, various characters embrace or resist new technology—Walter and the tractor, Rosanna and electricity, Joey’s farming techniques, Frank’s study of German warfare. How does Smiley use their reactions to deepen our understanding of these characters and to show the passage of time?generic viagra price canada
  6. What does Walter think and feel during the scene at the well? What do his decisions at that moment say about his own personality and the circumstances of the times? Why doesn’t he tell Rosanna about it until many years later?generic viagra price canada
  7. What role do faith and religion play in the early parts of the novel? What about for the subsequent generation? Would you say that religion is related to the theme of luck?generic viagra price canada
  8. How do the generations of men engage differently in the wars of their times? What does their involvement show about their respective personalities, the nature of war, and America’s evolving role in world conflict?generic viagra price canada
  9. How does parenting change from one generation to the next? Compare Lillian and Andy to Rosanna, and Arthur and Frank to Walter. And what about the roles of the sexes?generic viagra price canada
  10. By the end of Some Luck, Henry is just becoming an adult and Claire is still a child. What do you think might be ahead for them in the next book(s) of this trilogy?generic viagra price canada
  11. Did your knowledge that Some Luck is the first of a trilogy affect your reading of the novel? In what ways is the conclusion of the book definitive, full circle, and in what ways does it leave things open-ended?generic viagra price canada
Advertisement