Some Luck

Some Luck

by Jane Smiley

Overview: 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 wed 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.

Faith Bowers (06/25/15): This is the first of a trilogy about an Iowa farm family. When the children are born, Jane Smiley attempts to see life from their point of view. It is endearing to see the mistakes the first generation Langon Family farmer makes as the offspring personalities are fostered. The book starts with 1922 and continues through WWII and the early McCarthey era.

I read Early Warning first which is part 2 of the trilogy so I really knew the family as they were older first. Each book does stand on its own. In Some Luck, you are engaged with WWII through Frank, the oldest, as a sniper and how he eradicates his farm boy youth. Though the kids all worked hard on the farm, they seem to get what they want from their early adult life. The farming methods change radically from plows to tractors and Joe does want to farm. Lillian moves away through marriage and Henry starts his collegiate life.

Jane Smiley entangles you in their lives. You need luck to stay alive in the war, have a good year on the farm and meet up with the right people to assist you along the way. There is foreshadowing into the next book.
Rating: *****

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