April 14, 2016

Looking Back - At Paradise Gate

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

At Paradise Gate by Jane Smiley
1993 Touchstone Books (first published in 1981)
Finished on March 7, 1996
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

From Amazon:

In this brilliant novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author Jane Smiley delves into the domestic drama of the Robison family. While seventy-seven-year-old Ike Robison is dying in his bedroom upstairs, his wife defends the citadel of their marriage against an ill-considered, albeit loving, invasion by their three middle-aged daughters and their twenty-three-year-old granddaughter. Amply fulfilling the expectations raised by Smiley's other celebrated works, At Paradise Gate is a compelling, gracefully wrought portrait of intergenerational strife and family survival.

My Original Notes:

Ok, but not great. Kind of depressing. Cranky old man (husband/father) in a loveless marriage with three grown daughters, who argue the entire time. Irritating plot.
My Current Thoughts:

I have absolutely no recollection of this book and I no longer own it (nor do we have it in stock at the bookstore), so I can't even flip through it to jog my memory. I read A Thousand Acres sometime prior to this, so that's probably why I went on to read this one. 

Have you read anything by Jane Smiley? Any recommendations? Her recent trilogy seems to be quite popular.

About the Author (from Knopf Doubleday):

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Some Luck and Early Warning, the first volumes of The Last Hundred Years trilogy. She is also the author of five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.


  1. Is it me or does this also sound similar to the plot of A Thousand Acres? I don't think I've read this one but I'm not sure. Unfortunately I haven't read any Jane Smiley in forever so I can't recommend.

    1. It's not you, Iliana. I thought the same thing! I had to double-check the publisher's blurb to make sure I had the right one for this book!

  2. I read A Thousand Acres because I used to teach King Lear. I didn't like either! Hi Les, I'm finally getting back to blogging. As you can imagine it has been a horrendous 2 years. Sometime I will email you the ups and downs. Love your blog.

    1. It's so good to hear from you, Janet! I'm glad you're back to blogging. I'll hop over and visit later today. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. You've been in my thoughts these past few years.


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