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Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley

Ten Days in the Hills (edition 2007)

by Jane Smiley

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5341418,880 (2.29)25
Title:Ten Days in the Hills
Authors:Jane Smiley
Info:Knopf (2007), Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library, To read (inactive)

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Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley

  1. 00
    The Player by Michael Tolkin (hairball)
    hairball: The original movietown book. (Which isn't, I realize, the point of Smiley's book, but still...)
  2. 00
    The Diviners by Rick Moody (hairball)

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
It wasn't exactly Moo (which I LOVE), but I still enjoyed it.
It was kind of like a Judith Krantz novel but with fancier writing and a political agenda. And don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of Judith Krantz. ( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
09 April 2011 - charity shop

I got bored of the dull, rich characters and their unpleasantly graphic sex scenes by p 47. Read other reviews which felt the same, so had no problem stopping. And I am a big Smiley fan! ( )
  LyzzyBee | Oct 19, 2011 |
This story is not for everyone, and in some parts not for me, but I think Jane Smiley has brilliant introspection with her characters and a lovely way of emoting what is difficult to make come across on a page in a book. ( )
  TanyaTomato | Jan 29, 2011 |
Ten days in two houses in the Hollywood Hills, with a cast of characters involved in the movies or in the circles revolving around that beguiling industry. Smily sets herself the challenge of writing about characters who are mostly situated comfortably or enviably financially, spiritually, emotionally; and who - at least for ten days - live in a world of great luxury, indulgence and beauty. The challenge is to make the reader care about the very intricate and detailed depiction of their emotions, interactions and actions, many of which may appear banal or trivial. All of this against a background of the start of the war in Iraq. I found it both intriguing and engaging, sensually written and daring in its structure and use of time. There are no particularly engaging characters or exciting events, but the book says a great deal about much more than appears on the surface - love, sex, conflict, death, resolution - and of course about the banality of much of life, amongst which great art can be made.
  otterley | Jan 5, 2011 |
Glancing at the reviews on Amazon--ranging, btw, from "I didn't finish" to very negative--I realized that for some people, this would be their first Jane Smiley novel! After which, they would never get close to one again.

So, please, don't start with this one. Even if you're a big fan, you might not want to bother. My favorite, Ordinary Love and Good Will, isn't one of her best known, I think. But it's a showcase for her sensitivity to very delicate feelings, to how cruelties and slights within the family reverberate through the years--in particular how the hurts of childhood manifest in the adults.

But I think Moo or A Thousand Acres or In Good Faith might be better first books because they display how good she is at sketching characters and their families, researching and conveying how a subculture or sub-world (academia, a large family farm, real estate) works. She can capture the zeitgeist of an era (that would be Good Faith) and then make it all a backdrop to big themes. She's funny too. No one is ever going to call Jane Smiley a chicklit writer.

I don't think I have to go into what's so tedious about this book, since other reviewers here do so. And I didn't even get to the explicit sex scenes--not something Smiley has been much known for.

But after seeing the mess of Ten Days, I will be cautious about reading any other novels Smiley has written since moving to California. I'm speculating that something about the move has made her soft in the head. Maybe it was the money that came with the movie version of A Thousand Acres? The movie itself and coming in contact with people who had made too much money from doing and thinking very little?

When writing most of her earlier books, Smiley was also living and teaching in Iowa. Maybe the earliest were written somewhere else, but it was a place like Pennsylvania or upstate New York or Ohio--somewhere populated by thinking, feeling, worrying, working human beings.

I just saw the ho-hum Librarything interview with Jane Smiley. In reply to a question about the negative reviews for this book, she says that she never reads reviews (yeah, right) and that many people have told her they like Ten Days. I don't believe either statement, unless the fans were some of the boors that inspired this novel's characters. But it bothers me that she professes no interest in the opinions of critics or readers (such as those here) when they're so overwhelmingly negative. She must have some sense that it went wrong, yet there's no possibility readers could help her see why? Doesn't she fear she'll do it again? It makes me think less of her. ( )
  Periodista | Sep 18, 2010 |
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To Jack Canning, Mr. Inspiration
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Max was still sleeping, neatly, as always, his head framed by the sunny white of his rectangular pillow, his eyelids smooth over the orbs of his eyes, his lips pale and soft, his bare shoulders square on the bed.
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On the morning after the 2003 Academy Awards, Max--an Oscar-winning writer/director whose fame has waned--and his lover, Elena, are in bed, still groggy from last night's red-carpet festivities. They are talking about movies, talking about love, talking about the just-begun war in Iraq. But a house full of guests demands attention. They share their stories of Hollywood past and present; they watch films in Max's luxe screening room; they gossip by the swimming pool, and tussle in the many bedrooms. The tension mounts, sparks fly, and Smiley delivers a virtuosic, unputdownable romp of a novel about love, war, sex, politics, storytelling--and, of course, redemption--that's Hollywood!… (more)

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