THE NEW YORK TIMES
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres
"Rousing . . . Action-packed . . . A gripping story about love, fortitude, and convictions that are worth fighting for."
--Los Angeles Times
A NEW YORK TIMES
"POWERFUL . . . Smiley takes us back to Kansas in 1855, a place of rising passions and vast uncertainties. Narrated in the spirited, unsentimental voice of 20-year-old Lidie Newton, the novel is at once an ambitious examination of a turning point in history and the riveting story of one woman's journey into uncharted regions of place and self."
" A] grand tale of the moral and political upheavals igniting antebellum frontier life and a heroine so wonderfully fleshed and unforgettable you will think you are listening to her story instead of reading it. Smiley may have snared a Pulitzer for A Thousand Acres
. . . but it is with Lydia (Lidie) Harkness Newton that she emphatically captures our hearts. . . . The key word in Smiley's title is Adventures, and Lydia's are crammed with breathless movement, danger, and tension; populated by terrifically entertaining characters and securely grounded in telling detail."
--The Miami Herald
"SMILEY BRILLIANTLY EVOKES MID-19TH-CENTURY LIFE. . . . Richly imagined and superbly written, Jane Smiley's new novel is an extraordinary accomplishment in an already distinguished career."
"A SPRAWLING EPIC . . . A garrulous, nights-by-the-hearth narrative not unlike those classics of the period it emulates. In following a rebellious young woman of 1855 into Kansas Territory and beyond, the novel is so persuasively authentic that it reads like a forgotten document from the days of Twain and Stowe."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"CONSISTENTLY ENTERTAINING, FILLED WITH ACTION AND IDEAS."
--The New York Times Book Review
"ENGAGING . . . A] HARROWING ADVENTURE . . . This picaresque tale presents a series of remarkable characters, particularly in the inexperienced narrator, whose graphic descriptions of travel and domestic life before the Civil War strip away romantic notions of simpler times. . . . Smiley has created an authentic voice in this struggle of a young woman to live simply amid a swirl of deadly antagonism."
--The Christian Science Monitor
"A fine historical novel that describes a fascinating time and place . . . It is both funny and subtle, rich in ideas . . . Smiley has created a better all-around piece of fiction than any of her previous work, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres
--The Wall Street Journal
"Smiley is a writer of rare versatility who travels widely in her creative endeavors. She proved her mastery of both short fiction and the novel with three sterling works (The Age of Grief
, Ordinary Love and Good Will
, and A Thousand Acres
); her fondness for history had already been established with The Greelanders
. In 1995, she successfully extended her repertoire to comedy with the hilarious academic satire Moo
. What her new novel shares with all these works is its authorial intelligence."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"Jane Smiley is nothing if not protean, a literary ventriloquist of incredible range. . . . This is a novel that manages to combine the evocative storyteller's voice with the moviemaker's sense of drama and visuals, an old-fashioned tale told with contemporary steam and panache."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Not only is this a rollicking feminist tale of a woman who can handle herself in the thick of the Kansas Wars, The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
is also a coming of age story as well as a lasting portrait of the genuinely tumultuous time just before the Civil War."
--The Raleigh News & Observer
"A tale of love and war, revenge and betrayal, Smiley's fictional memoir invites comparisons with Gone with the Wind
, even War and Peace
. . . . Lidie Newton has the ring of honesty and truth. It also carries the stamp of its author's historical sense, stylistic verve, and moral passion."
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Full of the same arresting authenticity of detail that carried A Thousand Acres
--New York Daily News
"LIDIE IS AN UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER . . .
The All-True Travels
is a showcase for Smiley's range and dexterity, dead-on in its emotional impact and resonant in the painful truths it conveys."
--San Diego Union-Tribune
"Rendered in sharply lucid prose and filled with wonderful period detail . . . Lidie's story reads like a long and various dream, brightly colored and brilliantly observed--a journey into a world as troubled, ambiguous, and full of life as our own."
"An adventure story, full of suspense, near-misses, and coincidence . . . The first and sustaining marvel of Smiley's] new novel is Lydia Newton's voice: grounded in 19th-century reserve, yet honest, self-aware, and curious."
--Toronto Globe & Mail
"Smiley nabbed a Pulitzer for A Thousand Acres
. This stunning new effort should win equally thunderous acclaim."
"An immensely appealing heroine, a historical setting conveyed with impressive fidelity and a charming and poignant love story make Smiley's new novel a sure candidate for bestseller longevity. . . . Propelled by Lidie's spirited voice, this narrative is packed with drama, irony, historical incident, moral ambiguities, and the perception of human frailty. . . . This novel performs all the functions of superior fiction: in reading one woman's moving story, we understand an historical epoch, the social a.