HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Barn Blind: A Novel by Jane Smiley
Loading...

Barn Blind: A Novel (edition 1993)

by Jane Smiley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
293738,321 (3.36)9
Member:OWSLibrary
Title:Barn Blind: A Novel
Authors:Jane Smiley
Info:Ballantine Books (1993), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Barn Blind by Jane Smiley

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I am a big fan of Smiley because of her later novels. This first novel lacks polish in some places, but it has real grit and feeling. Yes it is set in an environment of horse competition, and has some details about that competition, but the scope and appeal of the book is not limited by that subject. ( )
  Michael_Lilly | Oct 20, 2015 |
A well-written story of a family caught in the spell of the mother's obsession and ambition. Shakespearean in its overtones. Kate, the mother and wife is blinded to all around her, husband's inner life and needs, children's actual aspiration and feelings, in her quest to produce a champion and make a name for herself in the equestrian world. With Kate in love with her own equine philosophies(she seems to have no inner or outer life that does not have to do with horses) and cocksure in her way of living and raising children, each family member must find way to survive in this virtual vacuum. Axel, Kate's husband is perhaps the most endearing of the characters. His sympathy for his children, especially his nurturing love for his daughter was beautifully developed. And yet, the thrall in which his wife holds him is more than he can defeat. The sturdy and defiant younger son is also interesting. As the book jacket will tell you, this is a tragedy. How the tragedy plays out is fairly easy to see early on. I suppose this book has so many things that would normally make this book a winner with me, however, I just liked it. I think my biggest challenges with it are that there seems to be little humor as I had expected from some of her other works, and then Kate casts such a chilly, bloodless pall over the entire story. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
A well-written story of a family caught in the spell of the mother's obsession and ambition. Shakespearean in its overtones. Kate, the mother and wife is blinded to all around her, husband's inner life and needs, children's actual aspiration and feelings, in her quest to produce a champion and make a name for herself in the equestrian world. With Kate in love with her own equine philosophies(she seems to have no inner or outer life that does not have to do with horses) and cocksure in her way of living and raising children, each family member must find way to survive in this virtual vacuum. Axel, Kate's husband is perhaps the most endearing of the characters. His sympathy for his children, especially his nurturing love for his daughter was beautifully developed. And yet, the thrall in which his wife holds him is more than he can defeat. The sturdy and defiant younger son is also interesting. As the book jacket will tell you, this is a tragedy. How the tragedy plays out is fairly easy to see early on. I suppose this book has so many things that would normally make this book a winner with me, however, I just liked it. I think my biggest challenges with it are that there seems to be little humor as I had expected from some of her other works, and then Kate casts such a chilly, bloodless pall over the entire story. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
A well-written story of a family caught in the spell of the mother's obsession and ambition. Shakespearean in its overtones. Kate, the mother and wife is blinded to all around her, husband's inner life and needs, children's actual aspiration and feelings, in her quest to produce a champion and make a name for herself in the equestrian world. With Kate in love with her own equine philosophies(she seems to have no inner or outer life that does not have to do with horses) and cocksure in her way of living and raising children, each family member must find way to survive in this virtual vacuum. Axel, Kate's husband is perhaps the most endearing of the characters. His sympathy for his children, especially his nurturing love for his daughter was beautifully developed. And yet, the thrall in which his wife holds him is more than he can defeat. The sturdy and defiant younger son is also interesting. As the book jacket will tell you, this is a tragedy. How the tragedy plays out is fairly easy to see early on. I suppose this book has so many things that would normally make this book a winner with me, however, I just liked it. I think my biggest challenges with it are that there seems to be little humor as I had expected from some of her other works, and then Kate casts such a chilly, bloodless pall over the entire story. ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
From: Summer on a Mid-western Horse Farm
Barn Blind, Jane Smiley (1980).
http://wp.me/p14mpp-bh

Jane Smiley’s debut novel Barn Blind (1980) is an intimate look at a family in turmoil—Katy and Alex Karlson and their 4 teenage children operate Kate’s horse farm in the mid-west; they are caring for 40 thoroughbred horses on the 300 acre farm. There is plenty of work for all, but Kate is a demanding boss and money is scarce.

The Pony Clubbers, pre-teens and teenagers learning horsemanship, provide the needed low-cost labor to clean barns, exercise horses and tidy the tack room. They do their chores to learn, not earn, but sometimes Kate takes advantage of their adolescent love for horses to overcharge the parents.

On Sunday the family goes to a small Catholic church near the farm. Kate got religion late in life, after her children were born, but, once converted, religious ardor infused her life. Alex refused to convert, causing a split between the two: Kate couldn’t forgive Alex; she moved to a separate bedroom, and there would be no further intimacies. Alex had tolerated that situation for 14 years because he loved her, but this summer his tolerance and love would be tested.

Kate ignores Margaret’s need for understanding and tenderness; Margaret becomes a weeper, subject to uncontrollable crying. Henry, the youngest, runs away from home during a horse show, but returns to watch John perform in the cross-country event. John, the 15 year old, has temper problems and punishes his horse. Peter struggles to meet Kate’s demands for excellence, hoping for affection in return.

In spite of the problems, a tenuous balance exists as the family copes with their inner devils and the hard physical labor of running Kate’s horse farm, training horses and holding equestrian classes in dressage. The Family Horse Show at the end of summer will upset the balance once and for all.

Kate is barn blind – She cannot see the consequences of her overzealous focus on the horse farm and dressage events. The will be tragic consequences for her family. Are you tired of reading about pushy, over-ambitious fathers? Read Barn Blind to get a good look at the pushy mother.

The author’s sensitive and insightful writing and her attention to detail make this story a delight to read. Along the way, the reader will get to know each member of this family well, but be prepared to learn the language of equestrian shows and horse farms.

Note: The United States Equestrian Federation, USEF, trains, selects, and funds our United States Equestrian Team which consistently wins medals at the highest level of international competition, including the Olympic Games. The USEF also licenses equestrian competitions of all levels across the United States each year. Pony Club is a youth horsemanship organization associated with USEF.

Carto
### ( )
  cartoslibrary | Jul 14, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449908747, Paperback)

The verdant pastures of a farm in Illinois have the placid charm of a landscape painting. But the horses that graze there have become the obsession of a woman who sees them as the fulfillment of every wish: to win, to be honored, to be the best. Her ambition is the galvanizing force in Jane Smiley's first novel, a force that will drive a wedge between her and her family, and bring them all to tragedy.
Written with the grace and quiet beauty of her Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, A Thousand Acres, Barn Blind is a spellbinding story on the classic American themes of work, love, and duty, and the excesses we commit to achieve success.
"Chilling . . . Jane Smiley handles with skill and understanding the mercurial molasses of adolescence, and the inchoate, cumbersome love that family members feel for one another."
-- The New York Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The horses have become an obsession with her, a force that will drive a wedge between her and her family, and bring them all to tragedy.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
62 avail.
2 wanted
1 pay4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.36)
0.5
1 2
1.5 1
2 2
2.5 2
3 18
3.5 3
4 10
4.5 2
5 5

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,353,672 books! | Top bar: Always visible