A Thousand Acres

Jane Smiley


Based on a Shakespearian novel "King Lear" comes the book "A Thousand Acres" . It is set on a farm in Iowa. The father whom is a farmer wishes to split his land between his 3 daughters and disinherits his youngest because she was hesitant about it. The older two take up the offer even though their father sexually abused them as children. The older two daughters take to scheming with the neighbor boy whom is like a wandering hippie and when the oldest sisters husband learns of it he gets drunk and wrecks his truck, killing himself. The other sisters husband enlists in the youngest sisters help since she is a lawyer to sue the older sisters whom have acted badly against their father.


Larry Cook - This is the father and he wants to divide his land between his 3 daughters. He sexually abused Rose and Ginny when they were young. He realizes his mistake as the book goes on but he cannot do anything about it.

Ginny Cook Smith

She is married to Ty and she is the main person telling the story. She conspired with Jess Clark to take all the land for her and Ty. Their treachery is discovered and her and Ty divorce. She is also very jealous that her sister can have kids but that she cannot.

Rose Cook Lewis

Rose is ill with cancer and her and her husband have two daughters, Pammy and Linda. She was also conspiring with Jess Clark against her other two sisters so that he and her could have all the land.

Caroline Cook Rasmussen

Caroline is a lawyer in Des Moines and she is very hesitant about her fathers gift of the land one because she's a lawyer and two because she doesn't think that it's a good idea for their father to gift the land like that. She winds up marrying later in the book and she teams with Ginny's husband to sue Ginny and Rose.

Jess Clark

Jess was conspiring with Ginny and Rose so that he could get the land by whichever one won. He didn't go after Caroline because she was cut out of the "gift" by her father.


Overall this is a great book that Is set to symbolize the Shakespearean tale of "King Lear" into modern times. It has romance, treachery, and tragedy. I would recommend this book to anybody who loves to read Shakespeare and just anybody who loves to read classics in general.
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“It was imperative that the growing discord in our family be made to appear minor. The indication that my father truly was beside himself was the way he had carried his argument with us to others. But we couldn’t give in to that—we were well trained. We knew our roles and our strategies without hesitation and without consultation. The paramount value of looking right is not something you walk away from after a single night. After such a night as we had, in fact, it is something you embrace, the broken plank you are left with after the ship has gone down.”
Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres