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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley recaptures an almost forgotten part of the American story and once again demonstrates her extraordinary range and brilliance in The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton
Set in the 1850s, The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton speaks to us in a splendidly quirky voice—the strong, wry, no-nonsense voice of Lidie Harkness of Quincy, Illinois, a young woman of courage, good sense, and good heart. It carries us into an America so violently torn apart by the question of slavery that it makes our current political battlegrounds seem a peaceable kingdom.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Rousing . . . Action-packed . . . A gripping story about love, fortitude, and convictions that are worth fighting for.”—Los Angeles 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.”—Chicago Tribune
“[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-nineteenth century life. . . . Richly imagined and superbly written, Jane Smiley's new novel is an extraordinary accomplishment in an already distinguished career.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“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
About the Author
Jane Smiley is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love & Good Will, A Thousand Acres (which won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize), and Moo. She lives in northern California.
“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.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Smiley is a writer of rare versatility who travels widely in her creative endeavors. . . . What her new novel shares with all [her past] 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
“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.”—Chicago Tribune
“Rousing . . . action-packed . . . A gripping story about love, fortitude, and convictions that are worth fighting for regardless of the outcome. . . . The voice Smiley creates for her sympathetic and wonderfully human heroine is sharp, engaging, wry, and wise.”—Los Angeles Times
“Like Cold Mountain and Beloved—and with more than a casual nod to Mark Twain—this sprawling saga by the Pulitzer-winning author of A Thousand Acres connects readers to the historical issues of the time.”—Glamour