Ageing Larry Cook announces his intention to turn over his 1,000-acre farm--one of the largest in Zebulon County, Iowa--to his three daughters, Caroline, Ginny and Rose. A man of harsh sensibilities, he carves Caroline out of the deal because she has the nerve to be less than enthusiastic about her father's generosity. While Larry Cook deteriorates into a pathetic drunk, his daughters are left to cope with the often grim realities of life on a family farm--from battering husbands to cut-throat lenders. In this winner of the US 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Smiley captures the essence of such a life with stark, painful detail. --Amazon.com
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‘A Thousand Acres is a strong, gnarled shocker of a novel… superb. Its success is down to Smiley’s ambitious gusto, her intuitive handling of the relationship between character and landscape, and her willingness to haul genuine moral freight across the panorama she has so expertly painted.’ Sunday Times
‘Epic fiction of the very highest order, naturalistic , penetrating and wholly absorbing.’ Literary Review
‘Superlative, extraordinary, amazing. A Thousand Acres is a great American tragedy about the failure of a family’s land and the failure of its love. There may have been better novels than A Thousand Acres, but I fear I didn’t read them – a haunting inquisition into the decline and fall of a family.’ Independent
‘A studied, ingenious variation on the brutal clashing of sexes and generations in King Lear. Its style is relaxed, conversational, unhurried; the novel flows gently onwards like a broad river. In its solidity and poise, A Thousand Acres is a book that will outlast this year’s rainy season.’ Vogue
‘Powerful, poignant, intimate and involving.’ New York Times