Some Luck (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga, #1) by Jane SmileyOn their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his familys land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm whos not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her fathers heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this familys triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smileys dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.
As the story unfolds, Walter is twenty-four years old with a wife, Rosanna, and baby, Frank. Walter serves in Europe during World War I. When he returns, he becomes enamored by young Rosanna Vogel. She is a raving beauty of German descent with thick blonde hair, lovely features, and a quick smile. Rosanna was raised as a Catholic but she thinks independently and is rebellious.
Rate this book. From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a powerful, engrossing new novel - the life and times of a remarkable family over three transformative decades in America On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father's heart. Each chapter in Some Luck covers a single year, beginning in , as American soldiers like Walter return home from World War I, and going up through the early s, with the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, 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 you'd seen growing up now has a little girl of her own, and you discover that your laughter and your admiration for all these lives are mixing with tears. Some Luck delivers on everything we look for in a work of fiction.
Alongside her 14 novels are several works of non-fiction and books for young adults. And then there are things we never really know much about at all. The story begins in , as Walter Langdon surveys his land, while his wife Rosanna keeps an eye on baby Frank, the first of six children we will meet. But, already, stories have gone untold. Of those individual stories, we hear only random snippets. But there is plenty in that rolling narrative, from dramatic childbirths to meandering romances, from long lives to unexpected deaths, all set against the gradual encroachment of a gatheringly powerful modernity. Nor any ocean of any kind.