Author(s): Jane Smiley
1953. When a funeral brings the Langdon family together once more, they little realize how much, over the coming years, each of their worlds will shift and change. For now Walter and Rosanna's sons and daughters are grown up and have children of their own. Frank, the eldest - restless, unhappy - ignores his troubled wife and instead finds himself distracted by a face from the past. Lillian must watch as her brilliant, eccentric husband Arthur is destroyed by the guilt arising from his secretive government work. Claire, too, finds that marriage is not quite what she expected it to be. In Iowa where the Langdons began, Joe sees that some aspects of life on the farm never change, while others are unrecognizable. And though a few members of the family remain mired in the past, others will attempt to move beyond the lives they have always known; and some will push forward as never before. The dark shadow of the Vietnam War hangs over every one ...In sickness and health, through their best and darkest times, the Langdon family will live and love and suffer against the broad, merciless sweep of American history. Moving from the 1950s to the 1980s, Early Warning is epic storytelling at its most wise and compelling from a writer at the height of her powers.
Early Warning is the second in the ‘Last Hundred Years’ trilogy, Some Luck being the first. The final book Golden Age is coming soon. Rosie Goldsmith, in a review for The Independent writes, “With countless characters and 33 chapters, Smiley covers most issues: therapy, homosexuality, cults, race, divorce, adultery and three decades of changing crops, gadgets, fashions, language and music. She doesn't judge. There are no major revelations or plot twists. Location dictates well-being. The dialogue is funny and real. The story rolls along.” There were times when I wish it had rolled a little faster and with fewer characters. There is a family tree included and I had to keep referring to it to try to establish which person belonged to what parents. And there was one mysterious character, Charlie, who didn’t feature on the family tree but who cropped up now and again. All was revealed at the end of the book, and I’m picking that Charlie will figure in Golden Age, part three of the 'Last Hundred Years' trilogy. I will read the Golden Age when it is released and hope (fingers crossed) that is moves a little faster with fewer people in the race. - Marie
The second novel in the dazzling Last Hundred Years trilogy, from the winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Gripping family saga. The phrase "a great novelist at the height of her powers" is so overused, but for once here it really is true. * The Times * Phenomenally powerful . . . Her cast is big, and growing all the time, but Smiley has a remarkable grip on all her characters . . . the third instalment can't come soon enough. * Guardian * There is a great deal to enjoy, and it's a novel in which many readers will happily lose themselves. * Scotsman * Here is one of America's leading novelists writing at the height, breadth and width of her powers. Magnificent. * Daily Mail *
Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2006 she received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. Her novel Horse Heaven was short-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002, and her latest novel,Private Life, was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. She lives in northern California.