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I often list Jane Smiley as my favorite author. She is able to inhabit diverse environments from the world of realtors to Iowa farmers to horse racing to the life of a university research pig as though she spent a lifetime in each environ.
With Ten Days in the Hills she seems to have lost her authority. Unlike anything I have ever read of Jane Smiley's this book does not sound authentic. Smiley usually takes unsympathic characters and gives them a humanity that makes them seem real. These characters remain unappealing.
I thought that some of the reviews that I read before purchasing Ten Days were biased against Smiley because she is very liberal. Well, so am I and I find the politics in this book to be almost a caricature of what a neo-conservative would think of a liberal.
In addition, I find the narration grating. So much so that perhaps I wouldn't find the book to be so poor if I didn't have the narrators horrible voice characterizations in my head. Nearly unlistenable.
I anxiously await Jane Smiley's next book. She is so good that I can imagine that this one is just an aberration.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I have read several books by Jane Smiley and loved every one of them. So I simply couldn't believe all the negative comments her latest book provoked and had to listen for myself. Well, I'll know better next time. I gave up after three hours. Boring, pointless navel gazing and musing. What were the critics thinking? Dear fellow readers, I'll take your warnings seriously next time..
6 of 7 people found this review helpful