Lucky: A novel (Hardcover)

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Lucky: A novel By Jane Smiley Cover Image

Lucky: A novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


An homage to 60s & 70s folk singer/songwriters as well as to a sense of home, place, and family. Though there aren't actual dates, the novel reads like it's the central character's lifetime journal, as it follows the ficitionalized story of a musician, Jodie Rattler. Jodie's destiny was partly determined at the start of her story as she recounts her totally random big win, at age six, at the racetrack with her uncle — the win being the luck that made her view her life as lucky. Her story and the songwriting included in the book, and Jodie's tales of being on the road as a musician make me wonder if Jane Smiley was a musician, as she has a exhibits a vast knowledge of folkies and singer/songwriters and life is on the road as a member of a band.

— From Vicki (2023-2024)

From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, a soaring, soulful novel about a folk musician who rises to fame across our changing times

Before Jodie Rattler became a star, she was a girl growing up in St. Louis. One day in 1955, when she was just six years old, her uncle Drew took her to the racetrack, where she got lucky—and that roll of two-dollar bills she won has never since left her side. Jodie thrived in the warmth of her extended family, and then—through a combination of hard work and serendipity—she started a singing career, which catapulted her from St. Louis to New York City, from the English countryside to the tropical beaches of St. Thomas, from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and back again. Jodie comes of age in recording studios, backstage, and on tour, and she tries to hold her own in the wake of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. Yet it feels like something is missing. Could it be true love? Or is that not actually what Jodie is looking for?

Full of atmosphere, shot through with longing and exuberance, romance and rock 'n' roll, Lucky is a story of chance and grit and the glitter of real talent, a colorful portrait of one woman's journey in search of herself.
JANE SMILEY is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Last Hundred Years Trilogy: Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age. She is the author as well of several works of nonfiction and 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.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593535011
ISBN-10: 0593535014
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English
“Spellbinding . . . Smiley neatly reverses the usual story of a 1970s singer [and then] orchestrates a seismic twist of staggering magnitude . . . Every novel by Smiley is a surprise.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred)