Aging Larry Cook announces his intention to turn over his one-thousand-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 cutthroat lenders. In this winner of the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Smiley captures the essence of such a life with stark, painful detail.
Jane gives an overview of the book:
Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California, moved to the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri as an infant, and lived there through grammar school and high school (The John Burroughs School).
After getting her Bachelor of Art at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in...