Sunday, May 17, 2015

Early Warning by Jane Smiley

Early Warning: A Novel by Jane Smiley --- 476 pages

Early Warning is the second volume in Smiley’s Last Hundred Years trilogy. The story follows the Langdon family of Iowa through the decades of 20th century America. Book I, Some Luck, began after the First World War when returning veteran Walter Langdon married Rosanna Vogel, the daughter of the neighboring farm family. It ended in 1953 with Walter's death. Early Warning opens with the family gathering for Walter's funeral. Walter and Rosanna’s children are now scattered across the country, with children of their own. In the course of Book II we witness their marriages and their children growing up amid the social traumas, political upheaveals and economic swings of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. The story line encompasses both public events and private lives, but what ties all together are the family relationships that endure through good times and bad.

A wonderfully compelling, compassionate but never sentimental, look at the American experience through the lives of one extended family.  The final volume is due out in October. Smiley is a master story teller at the peak of her powers.  

Click HERE to read a review from the Washington Post.

Click HERE to read a review from the San Francisco Gate.

Click HERE to listen to an interview of Jane Smiley talking about her book on NPR's Diane Rehm Show.

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