A Thousand Acres: A Novel
Take King Lear, a sweeping epic about father-daughter relationships, cutthroat competition, and politics. Set it in modern day Iowa farmland. Win the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Jane Smiley’s stark yet beautiful retelling begins with aging farmer Larry Cook bequeathing the family farm to this three daughters. When Caroline appears less-than-thrilled, her unsentimental father cuts her out of the will, exposing long-buried truths and repressed emotions. As Larry’s health declines, his daughters are tasked with running the farm in a harsh patriarchal world. Stunningly written, this complicated family drama is great on the page or via audiobook.
This powerful twentieth-century reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear centers on a wealthy Iowa farmer who decides to divide his farm between his three daughters. When the youngest objects, she is cut out of his will. This sets off a chain of events that brings dark truths to light and explodes long-suppressed emotions. Ambitiously conceived and stunningly written, A Thousand Acres takes on themes of truth, justice, love, and pride—and reveals the beautiful yet treacherous topography of humanity.