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A Thousand Acres (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1992/8/18

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A thousand acres, a piece of land of almost mythic proportions. Upon this fertile, nourishing earth, Jane Smiley has set her rich, breathtakingly dramatic novel of an American family whose wealth cannot stay the hand of tragedy. It is the intense, compelling story of a father and his daughters, of sisters, of wives and husbands, and of the human cost of a lifetime spent trying to subdue the land and the passions it stirs. The most critically acclaimed novel of the literary season, a classic story of contemporary American life, A THOUSAND ACRES is destined to be read for years to come.
"It has been a long time since a novel so surprised me with its power to haunt . . . . Its genius grows from its ruthless acceptance of the divided nature of every character . . . . This gives A THOUSAND ACRES the prismatic quality of the greatest art." -- Chicago Tribune
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award


アイオワの肥沃な大地に果てしなく広がる大農場。絶対的な支配力をもってこの「王国」に君臨する大地主が、三人の娘たちに土地を分け与えようとしたことから、父娘の悲劇が始まる―現代アメリカ文学界随一のストーリーテラーが贈る「現代のリア王」。ピューリッツァー文学賞受賞作。 --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。



  • ペーパーバック: 400ページ
  • 出版社: Ballantine Books (1992/8/18)
  • 言語: 英語
  • ISBN-10: 0449907481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449907481
  • 発売日: 1992/8/18
  • 商品パッケージの寸法: 20.3 x 13.2 x 1.9 cm
  • おすすめ度: この商品の最初のレビューを書き込んでください。
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180 人中、161人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち HASH(0x89db4744) A true tragic tale 2007/2/28
投稿者 Glen Engel Cox - (Amazon.com)
形式: ペーパーバック
When this book was chosen by our book club for this month's theme of "tragedy," I approached reading it with some trepidation. There are a number of things that I don't care for in literature, and one of them is the family drama which centers on the drama as drama for its own sake, rather than to say something more about the world. Part of my bias against this kind of writing comes from having cut my eyeteeth on science fiction, the literature of ideas which, at its best, is about today as much as it is about a future. I also spent three years in a creative writing program where, god bless them, my fellow students seemed to spend a lot of time writing autobiographical stories that didn't have much to say beyond it sucks to grow up in fill-in-the-blank. The book had won a Pulitzer, and if there's anything I learned in my MFA classes on literature, an award was often a signal that a book was not for the reader but written for the critics. A Thousand Acres screamed to me from its cover that it was that kind of book, that focused on the dissolution of the family as seen through a retelling of the King Lear story. I shuddered.

But, really, I shouldn't have. Having previously read two books by Jane Smiley (the quite amusing MOO and the intelligent and thoughtful Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel), I should have given her the benefit of the doubt. Within the first fifty pages, I was surprised that Smiley had drawn me into her story, and while it was still fairly mundane (the family dog wasn't going to start talking on page 100, to my dismay), I found the voice of the narrator intriguing and wondered just how much of King Lear Smiley was going to be able to transpose to 1970s Iowa. Turns out, quite a bit, in a wondrously deft way that I would have termed a 'tour de force' if I used that phrase anymore.

The narrator is the eldest of the three daughters, and instead of a king dividing up his kingdom, the family farm is to be divided among the daughters somewhat early by forming a corporation in which he gives control of the farm to the children, in a sudden move that delights the older daughters and their husbands and alarms the youngest, who no longer lives on the farm nor has much to do with it. Her concern about the alacrity of his decision infuriates the father, so much that he cuts her out of the paperwork process and thus the land itself. Pretty much every plot point in the Shakespearean play is touched upon in some manner, but never so roughly that the connections feel strained. If anything, Smiley's version is much, much more subtle in its understanding of the character's motivations, giving both a sympathetic portrait of the older two sisters that is entirely missing in the play, as well as making the Lear figure less of a madman and more of a stubborn one, such that when his stubbornness leads him into the rain, his madness becomes if not sensible, at least reasonable. You don't necessarily take any one character's side in this fight, but none seems such a villain.

What Smiley does that, I think, one-ups Shakespeare even more than making the female characters sympathetic is that she truly makes the tragedy about the land as about the people. In the background, and infusing everything the character's do to a point, is the thousand acres of the title. Perhaps it is because it is hard for us to imagine a kingdom as something one can own and pass to your children, for it's very easy to grasp the concept of these thousand acres, how much they mean to the family, and how tragic it is that this family cannot hold on to that land. In the past, I've been less than sympathetic to the concept of the family farm, but even my cold heart can't read what Smiley has described here and see it as anything but a tragedy.

What this novel has over the modern literature that I feared it would be is not only a plot (people die here, not to mention being maimed and insulted and cruelly treated) but a larger meaning, and that big picture of this being more than just a personal tragedy, is what makes this worthwhile reading. Out of the group who read this for book club, I turned out to rate this book the highest, and that is to say, I recommend it strongly.
92 人中、82人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち HASH(0x89ae7e70) Not for the squeamish reader 1999/11/16
投稿者 カスタマー - (Amazon.com)
形式: ペーパーバック
I am a college student, and as a logical step after readingKing Lear in my literary analysis class, we then turned our focus on Athousand Acres. I can't say how glad I am that this book fell across my path. Throughout my book my opinions about the characters changed so often, that I didn't know who to trust and who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. I came in with the expectation that Larry and Caroline would be the heroes, and that even though Ginny was the narrator we would clearly realize that she is evil. However, the characterization in this book is so deep and intricate that it is nearly impossible to lable one character as truly evil, except for the surprising conclusion of Larry Cook, whom I hated with a passion. However, this book can not be read with the expectation that it will give the reader pleasure. Instead, it reaches into the very depths of your emotions and twists them around with so vigorous a hand that you are nearly sickened by some of the action in the story. This book has some of the greatest depth I have ever known in a novel, and incorporates many subjects and undertones into its plot.
58 人中、53人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち HASH(0x8993bf3c) Astonishing Symmetries Sneak Subtleties into a Surprising Story 2006/11/5
投稿者 Donald Mitchell - (Amazon.com)
形式: ペーパーバック
Most modern novels fail to surprise me. They telegraph where they are going in such obvious ways that I often feel I could write the next chapters and the ending before I read them. Jane Smiley in A Thousand Acres also telegraphs a lot . . . but underneath those obvious road signs, she's built a more powerful message for those who care to read between the lines. Although most people don't want to read a book as long and as dark as this one, it's well worth your while. The character and plot developments display an amazing set of symmetries that are works of genius.

Those who will love this book the most are people who know farm life in the American Middle West well. Having had a grandfather, father and several uncles who were farmers in Illinois raising lots of corn and hogs, I was first impressed by how well Ms. Smiley captured the attitudes, experiences, psychology and perspectives of the American family farmer during the 1930s through the 1980s. I felt like I was reading the history of my own family for about the first third of the book.

Then, she powerfully shifts the ground as the patriarch of the family, Larry Cook, decides to cede control over the family farm to avoid estate taxes. From there, a superficial reading will see this as a modern version of King Lear. I think that obvious parallel is not an accurate view of the book. Instead, this book takes on the qualities of a Greek tragedy as the characters move inexorably towards their preordained fates. What's the source of the tragedy? It's the pride of the American family farmer who lusts for more land and production.

In fact, this book could have been titled "Life Drains Away" as the forces set into action by the characters create an ironic threat to some of the same characters.

I was most impressed by the subtle case being made for healthier farming methods and changed values among family farmers. Rarely does a novel make such an objective point with such power.

At times, you'll feel that the novel is more than a little over the top. But that's what makes the novel work as a tragic story. I do agree that Ms. Smiley could probably have cut back on some of the darkness, still made her point, and possibly had a masterpiece of a story. But some writers need to shake the heavens with their furies . . . and we can hardly blame them when they succeed.

Well done, Ms. Smiley!
117 人中、98人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち HASH(0x89c3bb1c) Dark, brooding, over-the-top. King Lear? Who cares? 2000/2/28
投稿者 Douglas A. Greenberg - (Amazon.com)
形式: ペーパーバック
As I read Jane Smiley's prize-winning novel, I tried my darnedest not to think about those much-ballyhooed parallels with *King Lear*. I find the "updated version of" phenomenon, which includes, for example, Helen Fielding's *Bridget* diary (*Price and Prejudice* update) to be gimmicky and distracting. Write your own novels, people!
That said, I can now declare that I think *A Thousand Acres* is a good, but not "great" novel. Jane Smiley is an excellent writer, and although the book starts a bit slowly, the momentum and intrigue build as pages fly by. Her ability to describe the landscapes, moods, and rhythms of midwestern farm life is commendable, and for me, this proved to be perhaps the most consistently satisfying aspect of the book.
The plot can only be described as "dark," perhaps excessively so to seem plausible. Incest, insanity, suicide, the casual plotting of vengeful murders--anything that might form the basis for an extended commentary on the possibilities for depravity in the Human Condition--it's all here! There is so much depravity here, in fact, that after a while I found myself (figuratively) rolling my eyes at each new twist in the plot. A bit over the top, Jane!
I confess that I found it dismaying that each and every male character in the book proved himself to be rotten, exhibiting behavior ranging anywhere from insensitive clottishness to manipulative and smarmy don Juanism to ranting, bullying, incest-practicing insanity. What a bunch of great guys! In all fairness, the women in the book aren't much better. The book's protagonist seems to be the one island of reasonableness until the surprising (and in my view, implausible) plot twist that proves that she, too, is capable of ANYTHING (I don't feel I should give the plot away here :-) ).
Overall, the book is gripping, well-written, and certainly worth reading. To my taste, however, Jane Smiley has gone a bit over the top in her portrayal of characters and in some aspects of the plot. The book ultimately turns into a veritable caricature of a "dark novel revealing the hideous inner secrets that lie behind the placid facade," blah, blah, blah.
66 人中、55人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち HASH(0x89aa3978) Interminable and Pointless 2004/6/1
投稿者 JerryinChicago - (Amazon.com)
形式: ペーパーバック
This is a book about which reasonable people obviously are going to disagree, but I found it so dull as to be a simply excrutiating read. Smiley's story of the decline of an Iowa farm family has the makings of a modern-day tragedy, perhaps, but her prose style, which dwells on innumerable tiny but insignificant details of everyday life--every vegetable in the garden, every hot dish at the social, every item in the closet of the narrator's mother, list after list of details that play no discernible role in the story--makes plowing the thousand acres of the book's title seem a lot easier than plowing through this interminable novel. For page after boring page, nothing whatever of significance happens; instead, Smiley's prose reads like an exercise in descriptive language from a creative writing class. And despite all this description, the characters of the novel remain curiously beyond our interest and seem often to act out of inexplicable whim. Such is true even of the narrator, whose most bizarre act (I won't reveal it, but it has to do with liver sausages) comes out of nowhere and ends up meaning nothing. Smiley obviously knows farming, but her writing in this novel cries out for the touch of a careful editor.
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