Golden Age – Jane Smiley

Golden Age - Jane Smiley

Golden Age – Jane Smiley

I read this straight after Early Warningso that I would have all of the characters and plot lines straight in my head. I struggled a bit with the gap between Some Luck and Early Warning.

Here is the blurb …

A lot can happen in one hundred years, as Jane Smiley shows to dazzling effect in her Last Hundred Years trilogy. But as Golden Age, its final installment, opens in 1987, the next generation of Langdons face economic, social, political—and personal—challenges unlike anything their ancestors have encountered before.

Michael and Richie, the rivalrous twin sons of World War II hero Frank, work in the high-stakes world of government and finance in Washington and New York, but they soon realize that one’s fiercest enemies can be closest to home; Charlie, the charming, recently found scion, struggles with whether he wishes to make a mark on the world; and Guthrie, once poised to take over the Langdons’ Iowa farm, is instead deployed to Iraq, leaving the land—ever the heart of this compelling saga—in the capable hands of his younger sister.

Determined to evade disaster, for the planet and her family, Felicity worries that the farm’s once-bountiful soil may be permanently imperiled, by more than the extremes of climate change. And as they enter deeper into the twenty-first century, all the Langdon women—wives, mothers, daughters—find themselves charged with carrying their storied past into an uncertain future.

Combining intimate drama, emotional suspense, and a full command of history, Golden Age brings to a magnificent conclusion the century-spanning portrait of this unforgettable family—and the dynamic times in which they’ve loved, lived, and died: a crowning literary achievement from a beloved master of American storytelling.

As you can see from the blurb, this continues the story (saga) of the Langdon family. Some bits of this I really enjoyed – Andy recovering from her alcohol addiction getting her own back on Michael and his dodgy financial practices, but found the extrapolation into the future unsettling (that might have been the point) and Guthrie’s fate was very upsetting. Once again, it is beautifully written in simple prose. It reminds me a bit of Forrest Gump in that the Langdon family just happen to be around for significant historical events, but these novels cover a huge range of history and how the events affected different segments of society.

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