Smiley, Jane 1949–
Smiley, Jane 1949–
Smiley, Jane 1949–
(Jane Graves Smiley)
PERSONAL: Born September 26, 1949, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of James Laverne (in the U.S. Army) and Frances Nuelle (a writer) Smiley; married John Whiston, September 4, 1970 (divorced, November, 1975); married William Silag (an editor), May 1, 1978 (divorced, February, 1986); married Stephen M. Mortensen (a screenwriter), July 25, 1987 (marriage ended, 1997); children: (second marriage) Phoebe Graves Silag, Lucy Gallagher Silag; (third marriage) Axel James Mortensen. Education: Vassar College, B.A., 1971; University of Iowa, M.A., 1975, M.F.A., 1976, Ph.D., 1978. Politics: "Skeptical." Religion: "Vehement agnostic." Hobbies and other interests: Cooking, swimming, playing piano, quilting.
ADDRESSES: Home—CA. Agent—Molly Friedrich, The Friedrich Agency, 136 E. 57th St., 15th Fl., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Iowa State University, Ames, IA, professor, 1981–90, distinguished professor of English, 1992–96. Visiting assistant professor at University of Iowa, 1981, 1987.
MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Screenwriters Guild.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright fellowship, 1976–77; National Endowment for the Arts grants, 1978, 1987; Friends of American Writers Prize, 1981, for At Paradise Gate; O. Henry awards, 1982, 1985, 1988; National Book Critics Circle Award nomination, 1987, for The Age of Grief, 1995, for Moo; National Book Critics Circle Award, and Heartland Award, both 1991, and Pulitzer Prize, 1992, all for A Thousand Acres; Midland Authors Award, 1992.
Barn Blind (novel), Harper (New York, NY), 1980.
At Paradise Gate (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.
Duplicate Keys (mystery novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted, Anchor Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Age of Grief (novella and stories), Knopf (New York, NY), 1987, reprinted, Knopf, 2002.
Catskill Crafts: Artisans of the Catskill Mountains (nonfiction), Crown (New York, NY), 1988.
The Greenlanders (historical novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 1988, reprinted, Anchor Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Ordinary Love; and Good Will (two novellas), Knopf (New York, NY), 1989.
The Life of the Body (short stories), Coffee House Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1990.
A Thousand Acres (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 1991.
(With others) The True Subject: Writers on Life and Craft, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 1993.
Moo (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 1998.
(Editor, with Roger Rosenblatt and Bharati Mukherjee) Consuming Desires: Consumption Culture and the Pursuit of Happiness, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1999.
Horse Heaven (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 2000.
Charles Dickens, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.
Good Faith, Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
(With Robert Gordon, Vicki Hearne, and John Yau) Deborah Butterfield, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2003.
A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money and Luck, Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (nonfiction), Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Angus Wilson) Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, New York Review Books Classics (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor, with John Kulka and Natalie Danford) Best New American Voices 2006, Harvest Books (Fort Washington, PA), 2005.
Ten Days in the Hills (novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to books, including The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty, edited by Yona Zeldis McDonough, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999; Pacific Light: Images of the Monterrey Peninsula, edited by Douglas Steakley, Carmel Publishing, 2000. Author of introduction to books, including Nancy's Mysterious Letter, by Carolyn Keene, Applewood Books (Bedford, MA), 1996; The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy, Signet (New York, NY), 1999; Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Random House (New York, NY), 2001; (with William H. Gass) Horses: Photographs, photographs by Michael Eastman, Knopf (New York, NY), 2003; Charlotte Temple, by Susanna Rowson, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2004; and Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner, Penguin Books Ltd. (New York, NY), 2006; author of preface to The Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection, introduction by Robert Kellogg, Viking Penguin (New York, NY), 2000; author of afterword to Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot, Signet Classics (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including Vogue, New Yorker, Practical Horseman, Harper's New York Times Magazine, Victoria, Mirabella, Allure, Guardian, and the Nation.
ADAPTATIONS: A Thousand Acres was adapted for film by Laura Jones and released by Touchstone Pictures, 1997; the novella The Age of Grief was adapted by Craig Lucas as the film The Secret Lives of Dentists, directed by Alan Rudolph and starring Hope Davis and Campbell Scott, Manhattan Pictures International. Smiley's works have also been adapted to audiocassette.
SIDELIGHTS: Even before her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley's fiction shared a concern for families and their troubles. As Joanne Kaufman remarked in People, Smiley "has an unerring, unsettling ability to capture the rhythms of family life gone askew." Smiley also possesses what Jane Yolen called in the Washington Post a "spare, yet lyric" prose. In addition, Yolen found Smiley to be "a true storyteller."
The theme of family life was present in Smiley's first book, Barn Blind, a "pastoral novel of smooth texture and—like the Middle Western summer in which it is set—rich, drowsy pace," as Michael Malone described it in the New York Times Book Review. The story revolves around Kate Karlson, a rancher's wife, and her strained relationships with her four teenaged children. "Smiley handles with skill and understanding the mercurial molasses of adolescence, and the inchoate, cumbersome love that family members feel for one another," according to Malone.
In her next book, At Paradise Gate, Smiley looks again at conflict between family members. In this story, elderly Anna Robinson faces the imminent death of her husband, Ike. The couple have had a rough marriage; Ike is an emotionally cold and violent person. When Anna's three daughters arrive to visit their dying father, old sibling rivalries are revived, tensions between the parents are renewed, and Anna must confront the failures and triumphs of her life. The story, explained Valerie Miner in the New York Times Book Review, "is not so much about Ike's death as about Anna's life—a retrospective on her difficult past and a resolution of her remaining years." At Paradise Gate, Susan Wood maintained in the Washington Post, "is a sensitive study of what it means to grow old and face death, and of the courage to see clearly what one's life has meant."
Smiley took a different tack with Duplicate Keys, a mystery novel set in Manhattan, yet even in this book her concern for family relations holds firm. Times Literary Supplement critic Laura Marcus called Duplicate Keys a story about "marriages, affairs, friendships, growing up, and growing older…. Smiley demonstrates a considerable sensitivity in the treatment of love and friendship." Lois Gould, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called the book only incidentally a mystery. "More important and far more compelling," Gould noted, "is the anatomy of friendship, betrayal, the color of dusk on the Upper West Side, the aroma of lilacs in Brooklyn's Botanic Garden, of chocolate tortes at Zabar's, and the bittersweet smell of near success that is perhaps the most pungent odor in town." Alice Cromie concluded in Tribune Books that Duplicate Keys is "a sophisticated story of friendships, loves, jealousies, drugs, celebrities and life in the fastest lane in Manhattan."
In 1987 Smiley published The Age of Grief, a collection of five stories and a novella focusing on the joys and sorrows of married life. The title novella, according to Kaufman, "is a haunting view of a marriage from the inside, a tale told by a betrayed husband full of humor and sadness and sound and quiet fury." Michiko Kakutani, writing in the New York Times, found that the novella "opens out, organically, from a comic portrait … into a lovely and very sad meditation on the evanescence and durability of love." Speaking of the book as a whole, Roz Kaveney wrote in the Times Literary Supplement that "one of the major strengths of this quiet and unflashy collection … is that in [Smiley's] stories things actually do happen. These events are entirely in keeping with her strong vein of social realism, but they have too a quality of the unpredictable, a quality which gives an uninsistent but pervasive sense of the pain and surprise which lie beneath even the most conventional of lives." Anne Bernays, in her review for the New York Times Book Review, concluded: "The stories are fine; the novella is splendid."
The Greenlanders, published in 1988, is a "prodigiously detailed, haunting novel," as Howard Norman described it in the New York Times Book Review. A five-hundred-page historical novel set in fourteenth-century Greenland, the novel took Smiley five years to research and write. The Greenlanders is "a sprawling, multigenerational, heroic Norse narrative," according to Richard Panek in Tribune Books. Based on old Viking sagas and, in particular, on surviving accounts of the colonies the Vikings established in Greenland, the story blends fact and fiction to create a modern novel with a traditional flavor. As Norman explained, the book "employs a 'folkloristic' mode—with its stories overlapping other stories, folded into yet others." The technique, Yolen found in another Washington Post review, presents "more than an individual's story. It is the community's story, the land's." By telling the community's story, Smiley contrasts the tragic failure of the Greenland colonies to survive with our contemporary society and its problems. "The result," Panek noted, "is a novel that places contemporary conflicts into the context of the ages."
As in her other novels, Smiley also focuses on family relations in The Greenlanders, tracing the effects of a curse on several generations of the Gunnarsson family, well-to-do farmers in Greenland. "Family matters …," Yolen stated, "become both the focus and the subtext of the novel: the feuds, the curses, the marriages, the passions, and the brutal deaths." Norman commented on the complexity of the novel, citing the "hundreds of episodes and tributary episodes: the seasonal seal hunts and rituals, the travels over hazardous yet awe-inspiring terrain, the births and deaths…. Given the vast template of History, it is impressive how Ms. Smiley is able to telescope certain incidents, unravel personalities in a few paragraphs, [and] delve into a kind of folkloric metaphysics." Norman concluded that Smiley "is a diverse and masterly writer."
After the publication of the novellas Ordinary Love; and Good Will, and a short story collection, The Life of the Body, Smiley published A Thousand Acres. The subtle account of a family's disintegration emerges through a painstakingly detailed portrait of Midwestern farm life, just before much of it was lost during the wave of foreclosures in the 1980s. A certain correlation to a Shakespearean tragedy is no accident, as Smiley admits that the novel is a deliberate recasting of King Lear, the Elizabethan playwright's drama of an aged king bordering on madness and conspired against by daughters who wish to take control of his kingdom. Reinterpreting the motivations of the daughters through a more jaundiced view of patriarchal control and feminine subjugation, Smiley puts the character of Lear's eldest daughter, Goneril in Shakespeare's work, now Ginny in her own, at the center of her family narrative. "Her feminist re-writing of Shakespeare's plot replaces the incomprehensibly malign sisters with real women who have suffered incomprehensible malignity," observed Diane Purkiss in a review for the Times Literary Supplement. "In giving Goneril a voice, Smiley joins the distinguished line of women's writers who have written new parts for Shakespeare's women."
For Jack Fuller, reworking the plot of King Lear has its dangers. "The large risk that Smiley runs, of course, is using the Lear story so explicitly," Fuller noted in Tribune Books. "It could have turned the book into a kind of precious exercise or a literary curiosity. But Smiley avoids this by the mounting brilliance of her close observations and delicate rendering of human behavior." Through Ginny's eyes, Smiley shows the deleterious impact of her father Larry's decision to divide his multimillion dollar farm among his three daughters, who include the embittered Rose and the emotionally distant Caroline. As the divided enterprise deteriorates, marriages fall apart and family relationships are crippled by suspicion and betrayal. Describing A Thousand Acres as "powerful" and "poignant," Ron Carlson wrote in the New York Times Book Review that "Ms. Smiley brings us in so close that it's almost too much to bear. She's good in those small places, with nothing but the family, pulling tighter and tighter until someone has to leave the table, leave the room, leave town." As the Cook family saga unfolds, Smiley gently reveals her feminist and environmentalist sympathies. "In A Thousand Acres, men's dominance of women takes a violent turn, and incest becomes an undercurrent in the novel," related Martha Duffy in Time. "The magic of [the novel] is that it deals so effectively with both the author's scholarship and her dead-serious social concerns in an engrossing piece of fiction."
In her next work, Moo, Smiley leaves the strains of family relationships to poke some fun at campus life, which she explores at the fictitious Midwestern agricultural college, nicknamed Moo U. While critics found moments of brilliance in the work, some considered it flawed. In a review appearing in the Washington Post Book World, for example, the critic compared Moo with another satire of academia, Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell. "Stylistically, [Smiley] employs a prose and tone reminiscent of the dry, ironic, distanced manner Jarrell so masterfully adopted…. When it comes down to the essential business of satire, though, Smiley is ill-equipped to follow in Jarrell's train. This is not because she lacks humor but because, more tellingly, she lacks malice." While commenting that Smiley wields a "considerable wit" and "provocative intelligence," Richard Eder's review in the Los Angeles Times Book Review takes the novel to task for being "a playful takeoff on too many things, all crowded together and happening at once." In contrast, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly offered praise for the work, writing that in Moo "Smiley delivers a surprising tour de force, a satire of university life that leaves no aspect of contemporary academia unscathed." Joanne Wilkinson sounded a similar positive note in her review for Booklist in her appreciation of the novel's ending: "Smiley's great gift here is the way she gently skewers any number of easily recognizable campus fixtures … while never failing to show their humanity."
Following Moo, Smiley returned to historical fiction with The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, which appeared in 1998. Discussing the novel with Lewis Burke Frumkes in Writer, Smiley stated: "Lidie Newton takes place in the mid-1850s, mostly in Kansas and Missouri. It's about a tall, plain woman without any prospects, and a man [Thomas Newton], associated with an abolitionist group from New England, who passes through Lidie's town in Illinois." Lidie and Thomas fall in love, are married, and settle in Kansas. There Lidie must confront primitive frontier living conditions, conflicts about free labor versus slavery, and the "worst winter in a hundred years." Smiley told Frumkes that "I once read that every 19th-century American novel was actually a romance, so I wanted to write a romance, a story in which the protagonist sets out on a journey and sees many amazing things." Smiley credits Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin as literary progenitors of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton. Booklist reviewer Donna Seaman credited it with exploring both "the bloody conflict over slavery and the simultaneous awakening of the feminist movement within in the parameters of a love story."
Smiley's 2000 volume Horse Heaven again demonstrates her interest in continually mining new territory for her fiction. In a novel described by Maxine Kumin in the Women's Review of Books as "exuberant, often hilarious," and by Bill Barich in the New York Times Book Review as "smart, warmhearted, winning," Smiley explores the contemporary world of thoroughbred horse racing at tracks throughout the world between 1997 and 1999. Horse Heaven is a big book—561 pages—encompassing a large cast of major characters (more than two dozen humans, a number of equines, and a dog) and a complex plot with many interweaving storylines. Trainers, jockeys, owners, gamblers, an animal communicator, horse fanciers, and assorted racetrack hangers-on share center stage, exploring their own lives and others through love affairs, business dealings, friendships, and betrayals. Yet, as Paula Chin remarked in People, "it is the hearts of the magnificent thoroughbreds that Smiley describes most movingly." Barich similarly stated: "What's remarkable about Smiley's handling of horses as characters is that she manages to bring it off at all—and more, she does it brilliantly."
Among Smiley's four-legged creations are the savage stallion Epic Steam, the delicate and insecure Froney's Sis, the aging Mr. T., and the five-year-old gelding Justa Bob, characterized by Barich as a "joker at heart." Barich also found Smiley's research for the book to be "exemplary," remarking that "it's deeply satisfying to read a work of fiction so informed about its subject and so alive to every nuance and detail…. From veterinary surgery to the riding tactics of jockeys." However, sounding a dissonant note was Jeff Giles, who in a Newsweek review found the abundance of characters in the book confusing and felt that "because Smiley is constantly channel-surfing between story lines, her novel gets choppy, and even the races don't quite thrill." Although Giles granted that Smiley manages to create both "tender" moments and "tense" ones, he concluded: "Unfortunately, they're not enough to carry the book. Unless you're a horse-racing buff, you're going to struggle to cross the finish line." Many reviewers were much more laudatory than Giles, though. For instance, Booklist writer Seaman found the story "electrifying"; and Starr E. Smith, writing in Library Journal, declared it a "winner by several lengths."
Good Faith revolves around twin obsessions of avarice and sex in the beginning of the 1980s, a time notorious for expanding economic development and out-of-control greed. Joey Stratford, recently divorced, childless, and still in his prime of early middle age, is a successful small-town real estate broker in an unnamed area of the northeastern United States. He still lives in the town where he grew up, and he is comfortable as a local-boy-made-good. His girlfriend is the daughter of his business partner and mentor Gordon Baldwin, a developer. Into this seemingly idyllic setting comes Marcus Burns, a slick former IRS agent and Mephistophelean figure charged with new ideas about what will and will not work in the real estate market. Gordon falls in with Burns after the latter solves a sticky tax problem with a single phone call. Shortly, Burns is deeply involved in Joe and Gordon's plans to buy a large local farm and turn it into a recreational retreat for tired city-dwellers. Marcus, however, has other ideas for turning the farm development into a source of unlimited cash with subdivided residential lots, shopping centers, and other expensive developments. Despite warnings to the contrary, Gordon and Joey offer Burns their trust and good faith, a move that will prove to be disastrous for all but the villain who tempted them with easy deals and easier money.
"Jane Smiley has produced an irresistible novel of bad manners, a meditation on love and money that Jane Austen might have enjoyed, if she could have handled the sex," observed Richard Lacayo in Time. Though she carefully delineates the decade's excesses, and suggests that her main character will live a more restrained life in the future, Smiley "neatly, wittily stifles any nostalgia for the Age of Greed," commented Paul Evans in Book. "In doing so, Smiley reveals herself as one of the most traditional of novelists, one not afraid of making a point, or of ending a story with a well-found moral." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel a "lively tale, written with literary finesse," while Library Journal critic Starr E. Smith concluded: "This absorbing book will appeal to a wide variety of readers." Donna Seaman, in a Booklist review, noted that "Smiley has never been more seductive than in this acutely entertaining novel of big-time greed coming to a small East Coast town in the high-rolling 1980s."
Well regarded for her fiction, Smiley is also a frequent author of nonfiction titles. In Charles Dickens, for example, she provides a slender but enthusiastic biography of the famed Victorian-era author. Smiley "is clearly a devoted and enthusiastic reader of Dickens's fiction, and this is a necessary but not a sufficient qualification for writing a new critical biography of him," observed a reviewer in the Atlantic Monthly. The critic added: "She has found something new and interesting to say primarily by drawing on her own experience of what it is like to write and publish novels." Smiley offers insights into Dickens's narrative techniques, as well as about many of Dickens's most notable characters. She starts her account at the beginning of Dickens's literary career and charts his profound rise to celebrity in his day; his energetic lifestyle and status as a public figure; and the later troubles he endured, such as the very public dissolution of his marriage. "For lovers of literature, the chance to consider Dickens in Jane Smiley's company is an absolute privilege," commented Claire Whitcomb in Victoria. Smiley "cleverly explores both his motivations for writing and his interior life," noted Book reviewer Kevin Greenberg. Writing in Library Journal, critic Paolina Taglienti called Smiley's work "entertaining and well-written," while Booklist contributor Kristine Huntley concluded that Smiley's "superb and thoughtful analysis should appeal to anyone familiar with the great author's work."
A favorite theme of Smiley's recurs in A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money and Luck, in which she describes a year in the life and development of two promising horses she owned: Hornblower and Waterwheel, the latter being renamed Wowie. She explains her desire to see that her animals received the best care and training possible; she even engages the services of an animal communicator to help forge deeper bonds between herself and her horses. In addition to her and her horses' experiences, Smiley provides detailed material on the "history and lore of racing, as well as many horse anecdotes," and an "introduction to racing's extensive and unique vocabulary," according to Katherine Gillen in Kliatt. In the book, Smiley, "as erudite and probing as she is passionate and witty, meticulously and bewitchingly illuminates equine sense and sensibility," observed Seaman in another Booklist review. Smiley's "story is many things: humorous, thought-provoking, educational, exciting, and heartwarming," reported Patsy Gray in Library Journal. Stoker Devonshire, writing in Spectator, stated that A Year at the Races is a "serious book, written with love and passion, and anybody who cares for horses should read it."
In Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel Smiley delves deeply into the art, craft, and philosophy of writing book-length fiction. In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and following both personal crises and courses of self-improvement, Smiley "felt herself obliged to take stock, to reconsider what it is to be a novelist, what a novel is or is not, and what shape a novelist's career and afterlife may most happily and profitably assume," noted Margaret Drabble the New Statesman. To help in reaching this deeper level of insight, Smiley undertook the task of reading one hundred novels, in roughly chronological order, to derive from them important lessons in the concept and reality of the novel. Her reading material did not follow any strict pattern, but was in many ways arbitrary, propelled by what interested her rather than what seemed necessary or important to read. Beginning with the eleventh-century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji and ending with novels published in 2001, Smiley extracted from her voluminous reading list a working definition of a novel as: "1) lengthy, 2) written, 3) prose, 4) narrative with a 5) protagonist," stated Erika Dreifus in the Writer. Smiley posits that all functions of a novel, all pieces of a novel, all effects of a novel, proceed from these immutable five characteristics. She also examines in depth the form, history and art, and psychology and morality of the novel in "one of the most fluent, illuminating, and enjoyable studies of the novel ever assembled," according to Seaman in Booklist. Smiley offers up her reading list in annotated form, with the hope of encouraging other adventurous readers to follow her advice and accomplishment. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel a "thorough reflection on the art and craft of the novel from one of its best-known contemporary practitioners."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 76, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.
Sheldon, Barbara H., Daughters and Fathers in Feminist Novels, P. Lang, 1997.
Atlantic Monthly, May, 2002, David Lodge, "Dickens Our Contemporary," review of Charles Dickens, p. 92.
Belles Lettres, summer, 1992, review of A Thousand Acres, p. 36.
Book, May-June, 2002, Kevin Greenberg, review of Charles Dickens, p. 76; March-April, 2003, Paul Evans, "Risky Speculations," review of Good Faith, p. 67.
Booklist, February 1, 1995, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Moo, p. 971; November 1, 1995, Brad Hooper, review of The Best American Short Stories, 1995, p. 453; February 15, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of Horse Heaven, p. 1053, and Donna Seaman, review of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, p. 1078; April 1, 2002, Kristine Huntley, review of Charles Dickens, p. 1302; January 1, 2003, Donna Seaman, review of Good Faith, p. 808; March 15, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money and Luck, p. 1242; August, 2005, Donna Seaman, review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 1983; October 1, 2005, Donna Seaman, review of Best New American Voices 2006, p. 33.
Choice, November, 2002, J.D. Vann, review of Charles Dickens, p. 471.
Contemporary Review, November, 2002, "New and Noteworthy," review of Charles Dickens, p. 311.
Economist, June 19, 2004, "So Near and Yet so Far; Men and Horses," review of A Year at the Races, p. 81.
Entertainment Weekly, April 23, 2004, Cynthia Grisolia, review of A Year at the Races, p. 85.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), July 13, 2002, review of Charles Dickens, p. 1; May 17, 2003, Sarah Hapson, "A Pragmatist of the Page," interview with Jane Smiley, p. R9; July 7, 2003, Kathleen Byrne, "Smiley Sells Us a Semi," review of Good Faith, p. D20; November 26, 2005, Elisabeth Harvor, "A Not-So-Novel Venture," review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. D28.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2002, review of Charles Dickens, p. 395; January 1, 2003, review of Good Faith, p. 22; March 1, 2004, review of A Year at the Races, p. 215; July 15, 2005, review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 782; August 1, 2005, review of Best New American Voices 2006, p. 812.
Kliatt, September, 2005, Katherine Gillen, review of A Year at the Races, p. 43.
Library Journal, March 15, 2000, Starr E. Smith, review of Horse Heaven, p. 130; May 1, 2002, Paolina Taglienti, review of Charles Dickens, p. 102; February 15, 2003, Starr E. Smith, review of Good Faith, p. 171; April 15, 2004, Patsy Gray, review of A Year at the Races, p. 93; October 1, 2005, Felicity D. Walsh, review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 76.
London Review of Books, November 19, 1992, review of A Thousand Acres; October 19, 1995, review of Moo, p. 38.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 18, 1984, Malcolm Boyd, review of Duplicate Keys, p. 7; April 2, 1995, Richard Eder, review of Moo, p. 3.
Nation, May 8, 1995, Valerie Miner, review of Moo, p. 638.
New Leader, March 13, 1995, David Galef, review of Moo, p. 18.
New Statesman and Society, June 9, 1995, Laurie Taylor, review of Moo, p. 37; April 17, 2006, Margaret Drabble, "The Common Reader," review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 49.
Newsweek, April 17, 2000, Jeff Giles, "All the Pretty Racehorses," p. 68.
New York Review of Books, August 10, 1995, Catherine Schine, review of Moo, p. 38.
New York Times, August 26, 1987, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Age of Grief, p. C21.
New York Times Book Review, August 17, 1980, Michael Malone, review of Barn Blind, p. 10; November 22, 1981, Valerie Miner, review of At Paradise Gate, p. 15; April 29, 1984, Lois Gould, review of Duplicate Keys, p. 14; September 6, 1987, Anne Bernays, review of The Age of Grief, p. 12; May 15, 1988, Howard Norman, review of The Greenlanders, p. 11; November 3, 1991, Ron Carlson, review of A Thousand Acres, p. 12; April 2, 1995, Alison Lurie, review of Moo, p. 1; April 5, 1998, Thomas Mallon, review of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, p. 10; April 2, 2000, Bill Barich, "From the Horse's Mouth," review of Horse Heaven, p. 14.
O, The Oprah Magazine, May, 2006, Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Books that Made a Difference to Philip Seymour Hoffman," review of A Thousand Acres, p. 218.
People, January 18, 1988, Joanne Kaufman, review of The Age of Grief, p. 14; April 24, 1995, Joanne Kaufman, review of Moo, p. 29; January 15, 1996, Sara Nelson, review of The Best American Short Stories 1995, p. 35; April 10, 2000, Paula Chin, review of Horse Heaven, p. 49.
Publishers Weekly, April 1, 1988, Marcelle Thiebaux, interview with Jane Smiley, p. 65; February 6, 1995, review of Moo, p. 75; February 17, 2003, review of Good Faith, p. 56; March 29, 2004, review of A Year at the Races, p. 51; August 1, 2005, review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 60.
Spectator, August 9, 2003, Anita Brookner, "The Way They Lived Then," review of Good Faith, p. 40; November 13, 2004, Stoker Devonshire, "Just Mad about Horses," review of A Year at the Races, p. 60; May 20, 2006, Olivia Glazebrook, review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel.
Studies in the Novel, spring, 2004, Jim Barloon, review of Charles Dickens, p. 140.
Time, November 11, 1991, Martha Duffy, review of A Thousand Acres, p. KT8; April 17, 1995, Pico Iyer, review of Moo, p. 68; April 21, 2003, Richard Lacayo, "Dollars and Sensibility," review of Good Faith, p. 74.
Times Literary Supplement, August 24, 1984, Laura Marcus, review of Duplicate Keys, p. 953; March 18, 1988, Roz Kaveney, review of The Age of Grief, p. 302; October 30, 1992, Diane Purkiss, review of A Thousand Acres, p. 20.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), April 3, 1988, Richard Panek, review of The Greenlanders, p. 5; November 3, 1991, Jack Fuller, review of A Thousand Acres, p. 1.
Victoria, October, 2002, Claire Whitcomb, "Full of the Dickens," review of Charles Dickens, p. 44.
Washington Post, October 27, 1981, Susan Wood, "Family Circles," review of At Paradise Gate, p. C6; May 13, 1988, Jane Yolen, "Passion and Strife in a Bleak Land," review of The Greenlanders, p. D4; October 26, 1991, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of A Thousand Acres, p. B2.
Washington Post Book World, March 26, 1995, "Wallowing in Hog Heaven," review of Moo, p. 3.
Women's Review of Books, June, 2000, Maxine Kumin, "More Equine the Others," p. 11; April, 2003, Valerie Miner, "Low Finance," review of Good Faith, p. 16.
World and I, November, 2003, Diana Postlethwaite, "The Way We Live Now," review of Good Faith, p. 193.
Writer, May, 1999, Lewis Burke Frumkes, "A Conversation with … Jane Smiley," p. 20; February, 2006, Erika Dreifus, "Jane Smiley on the Art, Craft of the Novel," review of Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, p. 51.
Yale Review, October, 1995, Lorrie Moore, review of Moo, p. 135.
Book Page, http://www.bookpage.com/ (September 10, 2006), Alden Mudge, "Heavy Reading," interview with Jane Smiley.
Book Reporter, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (May 12, 2000), Jana Siciliano, interview with Jane Smiley.
Fantastic Fiction, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (September 10, 2006), bibliography of Jane Smiley's works.
Guardian Unlimited Books Online, http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (August 25, 2002), Adam Mars-Jones, "Back to School: Jane Smiley Is Only a Lukewarm Advocate for Charles Dickens in a Biography that Has a Whiff of the Classroom," review of Charles Dickens.
Identity Theory, http://www.identitytheory.com/ (June 18, 2003), Robert Birnbaum, interview with Jane Smiley.
New York State Writer's Institute Web site, http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/ (September 10, 2006), "A Conversation with Jane Smiley."
NNDB, http://www.nndb.com/ (September 10, 2006), biography of Jane Smiley.
Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/ (September 10, 2006), Tim O'Neil, review of The Greenlanders.
Powells.com, http://www.powells.com/ (September 10, 2006), Dave Weich, "Who's Happiest in Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley or the Horses?," interview with Jane Smiley.
Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/ (September 10, 2006), Jane Smiley biography.
Salon, http://www.salon.com/ (April 17, 2000), review of Horse Heaven.