LitPicks Book Reviews—December 2007

Theme—In Praise of This Land
This month's books delve into the soil of the great American plains where their characters find rootedness, connection and community.
Labels: A Lighter Touch


Kent Haruf
320 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2007

The title of this book is beautifully apt for a story set on the great plains: musically, plainsong is an unadorned melodic line. Haruf's novel, then, is a plainsong—in terms of his taut, straight-forward prose; his unadorned but compelling characters; and the austerity of his setting.

Plainsong is also a hymn of praise. And Haruf's story becomes a paean to the power of place and to the capacity of individuals to transcend loneliness and despair, coming together in community.


A Thousand Acres
Jane Smiley, 1991
384 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2007
King Lear travels to Iowa, brought here in the late 20th century by Jane Smiley. This is Smiley's stunning tour de force, a Pulitzer Prize winner and many believe a contemporary classic.

A Thousand Acres is a modern re-telling of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, but told from the perspective of Ginny, a latter day Goneril (Lear's evil daughter in the original). In this version, Ginny/Goneril is the heroine.
Labels: Great Works


My Antonia
Willa Cather, 1918
280 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
December 2007

Read this beautiful book. I should just stop here. So I will. On second thought, maybe not. At least I should explain. Truth is there's not much more to say about this American classic than what H.L. Mencken said in 1918:

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