Review: A Thousand Acres

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A Thousand Acres
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing book. Reminded me a lot of East of Eden, both as a farm story, and the overall writing style. These are two books (among others) that pull off the trick of writing a full length novel with zero excess. Every page is necessary, every word contributes to the overall whole. Nothing feels rushed or meandering or contrived. The link to Shakespeare serves as a reminder that human nature never changes over the generations. More writers should attempt this very difficult task: modernizing the antiquated classics to make them seem less antiquated.

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Review: Heart Songs and Other Stories

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Heart Songs and Other Stories
Heart Songs and Other Stories by Annie Proulx
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very warm, soul-filling collection. I like the dark tales of rural living. My favorites were “Heart Songs,” “Stone City,” and “Wer-Trout.” Her writing is very subdued, delivering powerful emotions and ravaging her characters in simple, subtle verse. My favorite of the stories seem to glow with portentous meaning, as if a monster is swimming about the characters just under the surface, pulling them under as they cling desperately to their failing grip on rationality.

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