Smiley, Jane Ordinary Love

ISBN 13: 9780007291298

Ordinary Love

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9780007291298: Ordinary Love

From the author of the Pulitzer-winning A Thousand Acres, two novellas which showcase Jane Smiley's unique gift for capturing the nuances of American domestic life. ?I have given my children the two cruellest gifts I had to give? the experience of perfect family happiness and the certain knowledge that it could not last.' So says the narrator of Ordinary Love, the first of two thematically linked novellas, each investigating the dream of the perfect family. Ordinary Love gives voice to a mother, loving but unsure of her love's value. In forfeiting her powerful husband she fears that she has done her children - insecure Joe; restless Michael; cynical Ellen - irrevocable harm. Good Will, by contrast, is the story of a father, a relentlessly self-sufficient man determined to live apart from a coarsely materialistic world. In his singlemindedness, he does not see the damage he is causing until it is too late: his domestic idyll explodes in a frenzy of discontent. Together, the novellas raise a multitude of questions - about being a parent and being a child; about the desire to control other people and the need to compromise.

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Review:

‘With this volume Smiley ratifies her claim as one of her generation’s most eloquent chroniclers of ordinary familial love, its pleasures and its frightening hazards.’
New York Times

‘The supremely accomplished chronicler of our life and times.’
Laura Tennant, Harpers & Queen

‘She demonstrates a considerable sensitivity in her treatment of love and friendships. Her vision is as clear and unswerving as the writing.’
TLS

From the Back Cover:

'Ordinary Love' gives voice to a mother, loving but unsure of her love's value. In forfeiting her powerful husband she fears that she has done her children irrevocable harm. 'Good Will', by contrast, is the story of a father, a relentlessly self-sufficient man determined to live apart from a coarsely materialistic world. In his singlemindedness, he does not see the damage he is causing until it is too late: his domestic idyll explodes in a frenzy of discontent.

"Jane Smiley writes with such perception about the emotional perversities that assail the human heart that she manages to convince us utterly of her characters’ actions. With this volume she ratifies her claim as one of her generation’s most eloquent chroniclers of ordinary familial love, its pleasures and its frightening hazards."
NEW YORK TIMES

“I have given my children the two cruellest gifts I had to give… the experience of perfect family happiness and the certain knowledge that it could not last.” So says the narrator of 'Ordinary Love', the first of two thematically linked novellas, each investigating the dream of the perfect family.

"She demonstrates a considerable sensitivity in her treatment of love and friendships. Her vision is as clear and unswerving as the writing."
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

"It's difficult to find a cliché or a wasted word in Smiley's prose."
THE LISTENER

"Wise, powerful and resonantly memorable, these stories are sure to be classics."
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

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Smiley, Jane
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Smiley, Jane
Published by Harpercollins Publishers (2008)
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