Private Life – Jane Smiley

Margaret has lived her life in a small town for her entire life.  She knows everyone, as the same is for everyone else.  Born in the 1800’s she is nearly 27, a spinster of sorts since she hasn’t married, until she marries Capt. Andrew Jackson Jefferson, who is known or seem to be exclusive but also quite the catch.

The Capt. is famous for his contributions to Astronomy, after getting married, they move to California where he is stationed in the military.  Slowly but surely, things start to emerge about the Capt.  Margaret think it is just his eccentricities, but as time goes on it is so much more than that.

Andrew’s love for Astronomy is more than his love for his wife Margaret.  Although comfortable, they have tried having children of their own and haven’t succeeded.  The idea of adopting is just out of the question.  On the outside, they are the perfect married couple, until one day Margaret comes across some letters written by Andrew and his mother back and forth, which shock Margaret to the core.

As tragedies strike both Andrews and Margaret’s side of the family, Andrew retreats further into his discoveries of Astronomy, where the delirious work Margret does for her husband is staggering.

Should Margaret leave?  Should she stifle her yearning for another life, free from Andrew? Should she notify the authorities about Andrew’s precarious behaviours – stalking, spying, locking her up in the house while he is out?

As Margaret weighs the pluses and negatives, she realizes that her marriage has stood the test of time, even after learning all of the facts about her husband.  Should she leave or should she go?

I liked it and I didn’t.  I felt there was just that little something missing from it.  Even today as I write this, I am still not sure what exactly what is missing.

Random House – Knopf

Jane’s Website

Read an Excerpt


3 thoughts on “Private Life – Jane Smiley

  1. I think I liked this better than you did, but I agree that it wasn’t a wow book. On the other hand, I like Smiley’s writing and the general themes she addressed.

  2. Pingback: Mother | The Killer Of His Daughter's Mother: A Cunning American Boy Becomes A Mexican – Phoenix New Times | Download Smileys

  3. Pingback: Mother | The Killer Of His Daughter's Mother: A Cunning American Boy Becomes A Mexican – Phoenix New Times | Download Smileys

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