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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize: a riveting, emotionally engaging journey through mid-century America, as lived by a remarkable family with roots in the heartland of Iowa.

Early Warning opens in 1953 with the Langdon family at a crossroads. Their stalwart patriarch Walter, who with his wife Rosanna, sustained their farm for three decades, has suddenly died, leaving their five children, now adults, looking to the future. Only one will remain in Iowa to work the land, while the others scatter to Washington, D.C., California, and everywhere in between.

As the country moves out of post-World War II optimism through the darker landscape of the Cold War and the social and sexual revolutions of the 1960s and '70s, and then into the unprecedented wealth - for some - of the early 1980s, the Langdon children each follow a different path in a rapidly changing world. And they now have children of their own: twin boys who are best friends and vicious rivals; a girl whose rebellious spirit takes her to the notorious Peoples Temple in San Francisco; and a golden boy who drops out of college to fight in Vietnam - leaving behind a secret legacy that will send shock waves through the Langdon family into the next generation.

Capturing a transformative period through richly drawn characters we come to know and care deeply for, Early Warning continues Smiley's extraordinary epic trilogy, a gorgeously told saga that began with Some Luck and will span a century in America. But it also stands entirely on its own as an engrossing story of the challenges - and rewards - of family and home, even in the most turbulent of times, all while showcasing a beloved writer at the height of her considerable powers.

©2015 Jane Smiley (P)2015 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Oppressive & Miserable

I really loved Some Luck, the first book in Smiley's planned sweeping family trilogy. I looked forward to this second installment and had high hopes. All I can say is that while listening I had an overwhelming feeling of weight and heaviness looming down on me. I had the image of myself wearing a huge oversized man's wool coat, stored too long in moth balls, standing in the August sun and heat on my brick patio. I couldn't move my arms, couldn't breathe, and needed to break free. So I did. I stopped listening and returned the book. Too much for me. I hope someone out there finds some pleasure in this book. I'd love to hear about that.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

What disappointed you about Early Warning?

hard to follow without rereading first book in the series--don't recall relationships and no hints to who is who. Characters aren't interesting.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jane Smiley again?

Maybe--I really liked earlier books

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • C.
  • United States
  • 10-29-15

Love the narrator, but not for this book!

Lorelei King is one of my favorites, however I listened to her in 1 of my favorite series and unfortunately the range in each character reminded me of the characters in the other series. I couldn't get past that so did not get far! I imagine if I could have separated the characters I would have been able to listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly
  • Omaha, NE, United States
  • 10-06-15

Give it some time!

I started and stopped this book twice before I finally made myself listen past the first couple hours. It's wonderful. There's no action or adventure or cliffhangers - it's just a beautifully written book about a family. Jane Smiley writes the heck out of these characters and they are each different and fascinating in their own way.

I love the way Lorelei King doesn't "over narrate" and still manages to give distinct voice to each character. Bravo!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't get into it

What would have made Early Warning better?

Too many names, too much dull narrative, I kept waiting for it to get interesting but gave up after about an hour. I'm disappointed - I liked Jane Smiley in the past...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Jane smiley. Irreverent as always

I so appreciate Jane Smiley for her humorous, irreverent sense of truth. She has you laughing to yourself, if not out loud within the first few pages of her books. I can say that I like to go back and reread her books. I never hesitate to buy her next novel because I know it will be an enjoyable way to spend my time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great narrator!

Great narrator! And great story! I am hooked on the whole series. Highly recommend this narrator.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not sure why I read this

I know that Jane Smiley writes about farmers and their lives and hardships. Some Luck was much focused on that and I enjoyed that. Early Warning looks at the sons and daughters introduced in Some Luck and unless you buy into caring particularly about the offspring, the story line is only okay. Current events form part of the backdrop for the plot (bomb shelters, assassinations, Jonestown) but otherwise, I found the book only good, not great.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dee H.
  • Glen Mills, Panama
  • 02-12-16

dees review

I liked the simplivity of topic of the bookmand complexity of each character especially Frank and Author

0 of 1 people found this review helpful