A Thousand Acres
by Jane Smiley

Smiley.1000AcresModern version of King Lear when a father decides to divide his farm among three daughters. 

Opening paragraphAt sixty miles per hour, you could pass our farm in a minute, on County Road 686, which ran due north into the T intersection at Cabot Street Road. Cabot Street Road was really just another country blacktop, except that five miles west it ran into and out of the town of Cabot. On the western edge of Cabot, it became Zebulon County Scenic Highway, and ran for three miles along the curve of the Zebulon River, before the river turned south and the Scenic continued west into Pike. The T intersection of CR 686 perched on a little rise, a rise nearly as imperceptible as the bump in the center of an inexpensive plate.

Quotes from critics“Brilliant. . . . Absorbing. . . . A thrilling work of art.” (Chicago Sun-Times);“A family portrait that is also a near-epic investigation into the broad landscape, the thousand dark acres of the human heart. . . . The book has all the stark brutality of a Shakespearean tragedy.” (The Washington Post);“Powerful and poignant.” (The New York Times); “A full, commanding novel. . . . A story bound and tethered to a lonely road in the Midwest, but drawn from a universal source. . . . Profoundly American.”  (The Boston Globe)

BioJane Smiley (1949- ) is American author of 14 novels.  She has also contributed to a wide range of newspapers and magazines. In addition to novels for adults, she has written several works of nonfiction and four volumes of her horse series for young adults.  For many years, she was a professor of English at Iowa State University and has been elected to The American Academy of Arts. 

Awards: Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle award