Lucky: A novel (Hardcover)

Lucky: A novel By Jane Smiley Cover Image
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From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, a soaring, soulful novel about a folk musician who rises to fame across our changing times • “A robust, atmospheric coming-of-age story.” —People

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.

About the Author

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.

Praise For…

Lucky is framed as a rock’n’roll novel, but it’s a tricky and surprising one. Smiley seems determined to upend the conventions of the genre . . . What emerges instead in Lucky is a simple yet provocative idea—what if a woman protagonist were allowed to live independently on her own terms, not tied down by typically novelistic men or the bad blood that infects family life? . . . The novel’s title, upbeat on the surface, is darkened by the notion of how rare such a character is . . . Life and death flow in and out, and Smiley observes it clearly but empathetically. (Not for nothing is Dickens among her favorite writers.) . . . There’s no signal that Lucky is Smiley’s final book, but if it were, it would make for an admirable summing up—the story of a well-traveled, keen-eyed writer who’s spent decades making sense of the world in words, and taking pleasure in it for its own sake. A lucky way to make a living.” —Mark Athitakis, Los Angeles Times
“A robust, atmospheric coming-of-age story.” People

“I suspect Lucky will be polarizing, which may well make it the book club pick of the year.” —Maren Longbella, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A delightful trip through the 20th century’s greatest hits . . . This is life as a lesson in how to live, for which you must write your own instructions as you go along . . . Luckily, this is Jane Smiley, so the details, the insights, the songs—those she writes, and the dizzying assortment she mentions—are entertaining.” —Ellen Akins, Washington Post

“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)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593535011
ISBN-10: 0593535014
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English