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Some Luck: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 1
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Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group 2014
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Longlisted for the 2014 National Book AwardFrom the winner of the Pulitzer Prize: a powerful, engrossing new novel—the life and times of a remarkable family over three transformative decades in America. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father's heart. Each chapter in Some Luck covers a single year, beginning in 1920, as American soldiers like Walter return home from World War I, and going up through the early 1950s, with the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, 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 you'd seen growing up now has a little girl of her own, and you discover that your laughter and your admiration for all these lives are mixing with tears. Some Luck delivers on everything we look for in a work of fiction. Taking us through cycles of births and deaths, passions and betrayals, among characters we come to know inside and out, it is a tour de force that stands wholly on its own. But it is also the first part of a dazzling epic trilogy—a literary adventure that will span a century in America: an astonishing feat of storytelling by a beloved writer at the height of her powers.From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
10/07/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780804194136
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley. (2014). Some Luck: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 1. Unabridged Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley. 2014. Some Luck: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 1. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley, Some Luck: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 1. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jane Smiley. Some Luck: Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 1. Unabridged Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, 2014.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Some Luck
fullDescription
Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award
From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize: a powerful, engrossing new novel—the life and times of a remarkable family over three transformative decades in America.
On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father's heart.
Each chapter in Some Luck covers a single year, beginning in 1920, as American soldiers like Walter return home from World War I, and going up through the early 1950s, with the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, 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 you'd seen growing up now has a little girl of her own, and you discover that your laughter and your admiration for all these lives are mixing with tears.
Some Luck delivers on everything we look for in a work of fiction. Taking us through cycles of births and deaths, passions and betrayals, among characters we come to know inside and out, it is a tour de force that stands wholly on its own. But it is also the first part of a dazzling epic trilogy—a literary adventure that will span a century in America: an astonishing feat of storytelling by a beloved writer at the height of her powers.
From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: "This sweeping, carefully plotted novel traces the history, from 1920 to the Cold War era, of a single Iowa farming family. Each chapter focuses on one year, setting the minor catastrophes and victories of the family's life against a backdrop of historical change, particularly the Great Depression. As the children branch out from their tiny town, so, too, does the story, eventually encompassing several generations, cities, and cultural movements. Smiley, like one of her characters contemplating the guests at the Thanksgiving table, begins with an empty house and fills it 'with twenty-three different worlds, each one of them rich and mysterious.'"
      • premium: False
      • source: Christine Pivovar, Kansas City Star
      • content:
        "What's unusual about Some Luck is how closely it's meant to mimic real life, and yet how important Smiley's gifts as a novelist are to achieving that effect. The way the story unfolds makes it feel not so much like reading a novel as catching up with relatives every couple of months, finding out who's been up to what and comparing stories. Characters reminisce about scenes from earlier in the book that start to feel like our memories, too. Smiley's ability to sketch a scene, to bring to life the quiet incidents as well as the big ones--the moment when something finally makes sense, or a decision is reached, or someone lets slip something they shouldn't--are what transform the family stories into literature . . . Some Luck draws the reader in with easy charm."
      • premium: False
      • source: Amy Goodfellow Wagner, Examiner.com
      • content:
        "A magnificent achievement . . . Pulitzer Prize-winning Smiley has embarked on an audacious project: the first volume of an epic family chronicle that spans the past century. She pulls it off handily; her touch is light and assured. With each passing year, the Langdons respond to the events that shaped America itself . . . While written with humor and affection, Some Luck is a constant reminder of how fleeting life really is. Babies arrive with little warning. Children die in freak accidents. Families care for their aging and failing elders. Walter and Rosanna both worry constantly--about their farm and their family. In the end, it all comes down to luck."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sandra Levis, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
      • content: "The fertile first installment of Smiley's century-spanning trilogy of fatalism, farm life and family--a big story of a big family in a big country. [But] the focus is up-close and intimate: Smiley cultivates her characters in scenes that are sometimes lightly comical, touchingly sad, sweet, or slightly strange, and they are always perfectly, beautifully true to life. She gives every Langdon careful consideration--endowing each of them with discrete likes, dislikes, private thoughts, and secret hopes and fears--but it is Frank, the baby born on New Year's Day, 1920, who breaks the mold . . . The reader longs for the Golden Age of the early chapters and the way of life we know will not survive, even as we eagerly await the sequel. And all we can do is wait, patiently."
      • premium: False
      • source: Ellen Emry Heltzel, The Seattle Times
      • content:
        "Engaging. . . . Smiley is a self-assured writer, a skillful stylist who launches her story from a baby's-eye view. She plumbs the drama in ordinary life, hitting all our nostalgia buttons on the way, from the one-room schoolhouse and horse-drawn plow to the TV set. As the landscape changes, from a vista of corn fields and self-sufficiency to green lawns and consumerism, Smiley is a master of the telling detail . . . Populated by sympathetic characters who take what life brings, [this] is a look back at what feels like simpler times. Family is Smiley's turf, and she plays it well."
      • premium: False
      • source: Natalie Serber, The Oregonian
      • content:
        "The wonderful first installment of Smiley's The Last Hundred Years Trilogy, which tells the story of an Iowa farm family from 1920 to 2019. As far as I'm concerned, the next two cannot follow soon enough . . . Over the years, the Langdons will have six children, each with their own interesting life, messy desires and flaws that will compel them out into the world, some far from the farm that the family both loathes and loves. There are deaths, blizzards, droughts, and accidents, as well
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley's newest novel, a sublime paean to the American Midwest and its people, is enhanced by the clarity and subtle "gee-whiz" quality of Lorelei King's narration. The story is a panoramic sweep of 30 years in an Iowa farm family. From the end of 1918 to the early 1950s, Rosanna and Walter Langdon and their children experience joys, sorrows, and challenges that define them--and our growing nation. King ably exploits Smiley's narrative, which tells the story from differing viewpoints, to explore character through varying pace and speaking styles. She also changes her tone and roughens some character voices to increase our sense of the passing of time and a way of life. Well done. A.C.S. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from July 7, 2014
        In the first volume of a planned trilogy, Smiley returns to the Iowa of her Pulitzer Prize–winning A Thousand Acres, but in a very different vein. The warring sisters and abusive father of that book have given way to the Langdons, a loving family whose members, like most people, are exceptional only in their human particularities. The story covers the 1920s through the early ’50s, years during which the family farm survives the Depression and drought, and the five Langdon children grow up and have to decide whether to stay or leave. Smiley is particularly good at depicting the world from the viewpoint of young children—all five of the Langdons are distinct individuals from their earliest days. The standout is oldest son Frank, born stubborn and with an eye for opportunity, but as Smiley shifts her attention from one character to another, they all come to feel like real and relatable people. The saga of an Iowa farm family might not seem like an exciting premise, but Smiley makes it just that, conjuring a world—time, place, people—and an engaging story that makes readers eager to know what happens next. Smiley plans to extend the tale of the Langdon family well into the 21st century; she’s off to a very strong start.

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shortDescription
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres: a heartwarming, deeply engaging new novel-the life and times of an American farm family over three transformative decades-certain to become an instant classic.

On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family's land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who's not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father's heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family's triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York,...
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Some Luck Last Hundred Years A Family Saga Series Book 01
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Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga
awards
      • source: The New York Times
      • value: The New York Times Best Seller List
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Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga Series, Book 1
publisher
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group