Books by Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including, most recently, Good Faith, as well as a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. She is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in


GEE WHIZ by Jane Smiley
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"Another successful visit with Abby Lovitt and her horses. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Abby Lovitt's newest horse brings her a taste of the wider world. Read full book review >
PIE IN THE SKY by Jane Smiley
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"Despite this shortcoming, another interesting read for horse lovers and Abby Lovitt fans. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Smiley continues the equine adventures of Abby Lovitt (True Blue, 2011, etc.). Read full book review >
TRUE BLUE by Jane Smiley
Released: Sept. 27, 2011

"Smiley's pristine, graceful prose and thoroughly real characters make this a novel to savor. (Historical fiction. 10 & up)"
Smiley continues the story of Abby Lovitt and the horses on her family's California ranch in the 1960s. Read full book review >
A GOOD HORSE by Jane Smiley
Released: Oct. 26, 2010

"Rich, real and utterly engrossing. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
This sequel to The Georges and the Jewels (2009) is Smiley at her finest—detailed, nuanced, absorbing. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE COMPUTER by Jane Smiley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 12, 2010

"Engrossing. Smiley takes science history and injects it with a touch of noir and an exciting clash of vanities."
Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Smiley (Private Life, 2010, etc.) looks at the curious personalities and tortured paths that led to the first computer(s). Read full book review >
PRIVATE LIFE by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 2010

"Her most ferocious novel since the Pulitzer Prize–winning A Thousand Acres (1991) and every bit as good. "
Smiley roars back from the disappointing Ten Days in the Hills (2007) with a scarifying tale of stifling marriage and traumatizing losses. Read full book review >
THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS by Jane Smiley
Released: Sept. 8, 2009

"It's the minute details of work with the horses that make this book sing, and horse-mad readers will snap it up. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Abby's father names all the male horses that come through their farm George and all the female horses Jewel, and Abby knows it's to keep the family from becoming too attached to them. Read full book review >
TEN DAYS IN THE HILLS by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 15, 2007

"A couple of touching moments toward the end can't redeem this surprising misstep from one of our most gifted novelists."
Smiley, who won a Pulitzer for transplanting King Lear to 1970s Iowa (A Thousand Acres, 1991), sets her modern-day version of The Decameron in Hollywood. And it's no prize-winner. Read full book review >
BEST NEW AMERICAN VOICES by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"Impressive craftsmanship and high imaginative quality distinguish an annual that's becoming an essential."
Many roads are traveled in this sixth gathering of the best stories culled from the nation's writing programs and conferences. Read full book review >
THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT THE NOVEL by Jane Smiley
Released: Sept. 16, 2005

"Stimulating, provocative and unfailingly intelligent—in short, vintage Smiley."
Bracing literary criticism from a practitioner's point of view. Read full book review >
A YEAR AT THE RACES by Jane Smiley
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: April 20, 2004

"The surety and glow of her prose fragrantly convey the author's sensuous and protective love for horses; she's the kind of mother any foal would be lucky to have."
Novelist Smiley (Good Faith, 2003, etc.) portrays her life with horses in a text full of quirks, neuroses, personal insights, theories, and lots of polished vignettes. Read full book review >
GOOD FAITH by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 28, 2003

"Blunt and bold: the work of one of America's best writers."
Smiley nails the Greed Decade with her trademark precision and philosophical bite. Read full book review >
CHARLES DICKENS by Jane Smiley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 13, 2002

"A successful attempt to deepen the way we read Dickens, with clues to finding him in his own characters and words."
Pulitzer-winning novelist Smiley (Horse Heaven, 2000, etc.) brings her fluid prose to a fresh and insightful look, through a psychological lens, at the life of Dickens. Read full book review >
HORSE HEAVEN by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 6, 2000

"If one named Jane Smiley ever shows up in the racing form, you might just want to bet the farm on her."
A fast-paced, fetchingly detailed, wide-angled view of the world of horse breeding-and-racing—and another lively illustration of Smiley's industrious literary work-ethic and gift for transmuting the products of her obviously extensive research into compelling fiction. Read full book review >
THE ALL-TRUE TRAVELS AND ADVENTURES OF LIDIE NEWTON by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 3, 1998

"Little else goes awry, though, in the richly entertaining saga of a woman who might have been well matched with Thomas Berger's "Little Big Man," and whom Huck Finn would have been proud to claim as his big sister."
Smiley (Moo, 1995, etc.) scales another peak with this bighearted and thoughtful picaresque novel set mostly in the Kansas Territory shortly before the Civil War. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1995 by Jane Smiley
Released: Nov. 15, 1995

"A strong addition to the venerable series."
The eightieth anniversary issue of this annual series displays a catholicity of taste that's often been missing from previous volumes. Read full book review >
MOO by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 1995

"Not as intellectually or morally challenging as the Pulitzer Prize-winner can be at her best, but Smiley coasting is still more stimulating than most writers trying their hardest."
A comic novel proves an agreeable change of pace for the ordinarily serious-minded Smiley (A Thousand Acres, 1991, etc.). Read full book review >
A THOUSAND ACRES by Jane Smiley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 4, 1991

"With the Bard's peak moments—the storm, a blinding, etc.—a potent tragedy immaculate in characters, stately pace, and lowering ambiance."
Lear in Iowa. Read full book review >
ORDINARY LOVE AND GOOD WILL by Jane Smiley
Released: Nov. 9, 1989

"Smiley's best to date."
In these handsomely crafted novellas, as in The Age of Grief (1987) and other works, Smiley (The Greenlanders, 1988) sets within the fussy patterns of familial interaction the inexplicable—sudden, volcanic surfacings of rage or desire that transform a seemingly secure life into a new landscape of compromise and sad wisdom. Read full book review >
THE GREENLANDERS by Jane Smiley
Released: April 18, 1988

"A bleak, stirring picture of the slow slouch towards the death of a civilization."
Smiley (Duplicate Keys, The Age of Grief, etc.) has produced a bulky, sometimes spectacular saga of 14th-century Greenland—a tapestry of hunger, revenge and the disintegration of social institutions. Read full book review >
CATSKILL CRAFTS by Jane Smiley
Released: Dec. 23, 1987

"Here, Smiley's words seem ultimately little more than lengthy captions for the book's 50 photographs."
A sentimental and disappointing portrait of the tribe of men and women who work with their hands. Read full book review >
THE AGE OF GRIEF by Jane Smiley
Released: Sept. 10, 1987

"And there is that memorable and sobering perspective—when vision changes from the far distance to the near reality of a life suddenly grown shriveled and, alas, permanently small."
Five short stories and a novella by the author of Duplicate Keys (1984) and At Paradise Gate (1981), all celebrating, in one way or another, what Smiley in the novella dubs "The Age of Grief"—that time in middle age, "after all that schooling, all that care," when coming around to you is "the same cup of pain that every mortal drinks from." Read full book review >
DUPLICATE KEYS by Jane Smiley
Released: March 1, 1983

"A blurry, ambitious cluster of themes, then, never coming into focus—or rising above the murder-melodrama format."
Smiley, a gifted novelist of family-relations (Born Blind, At Paradise Gate), goes murkily astray this time—in a Manhattan murder-mystery that probes, with talky stiffness, the inter-relations among an unappealing group of old Minnesota college friends, now all early-30s New Yorkers. Read full book review >
AT PARADISE GATE by Jane Smiley
Released: Oct. 14, 1981

"Flawed work, then, but worthy, honest, and—at its best—wry and sternly moving."
Though rather too belabored and talky to match the impact of Smiley's impressive Barn Blind debut (1980), this claustrophobic, deathbed study of an edgy Des Moines family reaffirms her acute feel for silent wounds, thwarted affections, and complex domestic tensions. Read full book review >
BARN BLIND by Jane Smiley
Released: June 2, 1980

"A devastating probe of a woman sealed within that (to most of us) alien world of the track and paddock; special—but deep-driving."
In this unusual first novel Smiley, with flawless command of the shaky grandeurs and gritty drudgery which can absorb the equestrian fancy, matches the openended rigors of the discipline with one woman's tragically destructive obsession. Read full book review >