Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jane Does It Again, Darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                     There are two authors named Jane, who serious readers should read every year--the Misses Austen and Smiley.  Centuries apart, they always guarantee to satisfy those who crave both entertainment and literature.

                                        The definition of "picaresque" is a "narrative style of episodic fiction built around a dishonored, or rough and ready kind of hero, who is also appealing."  Jane's novel certainly fills the bill.

                                          It was interesting, for me, coming to this so soon after "True Grit," as, essentially, both are quest novels featuring an atypical female heroine.

                                           The comparison ends there.  "The All-True Travels And Adventures Of Liddie Newton"--the longest title in Smiley's canon, and which has to be memorized--is exactly that, a sprawling Civil War type saga of a woman on her own.  Liddie is a bit older than Mattie Ross, but with as much courage and resourcefulness as she, or anyone else in this novel.  Liddie's journey from loss to back  home, in order to find some kind of peace, is a sprawling, detailed, yet tightly constructed narrative that I cannot imagine anyone but Jane Smiley writing.  It is epic in scope and detail, and when I reached the end, while satisfied, a part of me wanted the story to keep on going.

                                             But that is Jane Smiley.  She satisfies, and makes the reader want more!

                                             See you next year, Jane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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