- Title: Good Faith
- Author: Jane Smiley
- ISBN: 9780385721059
- Page: 226
- Format: Paperback
Greed Envy Sex Property In her subversively funny and genuinely moving new novel, Jane Smiley nails down several American obsessions with the expertise of a master carpenter.Forthright, likable Joe Stratford is the kind of local businessman everybody trusts, for good reason But it s 1982, and even in Joe s small town, values are in upheaval not just property values,Greed Envy Sex Property In her subversively funny and genuinely moving new novel, Jane Smiley nails down several American obsessions with the expertise of a master carpenter.Forthright, likable Joe Stratford is the kind of local businessman everybody trusts, for good reason But it s 1982, and even in Joe s small town, values are in upheaval not just property values, either Enter Marcus Burns, a would be master of the universe whose years with the IRS have taught him which rules are meant to be broken Before long he and Joe are new best friends and partners in an investment venture so complex that no one may ever understand it Add to this Joe s roller coaster affair with his mentor s married daughter The result is as suspenseful and entertaining as any of Jane Smiley s fiction.
Recent Comments "Good Faith"
Don't know why I'm giving this five stars, except that this novel was like an addiction. It wasn't life-altering, nobody dies, nothing blows up. But any time I wasn't reading this, all I could think was, "When can I read Good Faith? When can I read Good Faith?"
A book about 1980s real estate boondoggles. It could have been interesting. It wasn't.Jane Smiley's writing is very good (she is a Pulitzer prize winner), and even though I was bored listening to this audiobook, waiting for something interesting to happen (nothing really does, until the very end, and what does happen is inevitable), I noted the difference between a real Writer, a literary Writer, a Writer who has mastered her craft, and one who's passably good, who can tell a tale, but has neith [...]
Of all the Jane Smiley books I've read, this was difficult to finish or like. I disliked every character, the plot was too real, the ending obvious. There are things about being a normal human in a small town that while perfectly everyday and natural, have always filled me with profound disgust. It's a tone of self-satisfied family life coupled with middle-class beautiful home graspiness and greed, accompanied by respectable social club conformity. It feels like a Republican Party caucus, before [...]
Jane Smiley could probably write about anything and it would be worth reading. The things she writes about aren't new or exciting but she has a way of writing that makes me want to keep reading her books. The blurb sounded terribly boring but she somehow made descriptions of housing developments and buying/selling real estate interesting. The first half of the book was great but it started to drag in the middle for me. It's clear that something bad will happen but the buildup takes forever. The [...]
I have read (I think it was an review) that this book moves too slow for some readers. For me, the story builds upon the observations and experiences of the main character with the perfect clarity of a well-measured pace. Upon reflection, the plot bears slight resemblance to The Great Gadspy and Goodbye Columbus, but I liked it better than either. Smiley has more than one story to tell so if the 80s savings and loan scandal sounds dull, try one of her other books (Moo or The All-true Travels an [...]
meh. One of those books you can put down and use to level your desk if your hardwood floors are warped from the tears shed.
I can´t believe I finished this book. If it weren´t for the severe lack of good novels in Chilean patagonia, I´m sure I would have given up about halfway through. Smiley´s novel paints a picture of the greedy ambition that swept through the US during the 1980s. It is realistic fiction, designed to portray a shift in American culture during the social and economic changes in the Reagan era. The protagonist is a small town realtor in upstate new york, raised by saintly god-fearing parents and [...]
A story about 80s excess, money, greed, naivete and sociopathy. Not my favourite Smiley - I found it tedious, like a slo-mo accident that you can see happening a mile away, until the last 50 or so pages. Then it became faster, better, deeper - and the complexity of the characters and personalities revealed themselves in ways both original and convincing. 3.5 stars.
This book was so surprisingly entertaining, I feel like Jane Smiley can make any topic sing. I like how the roots of gentrification and Mcmansions are explored in a funny, rather than dark, way. It makes the 80s feel very long ago indeed.
I loved Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres," a sort of lurid, contemporary retelling of the King Lear story from the perspective of the grown daughters on a farm family in Iowa. I've read several of her other books but did not enjoy them as much as "Good Faith," with it's look at buying and selling property in the late nineties. The main character, Joe Stratford is a likable local realtor who makes a couple of new friends who suggest there may be some short cuts to the American Dream. It's a really [...]
Perhaps falling in love while reading affected my opinion of this book, but I strongly identify the lead character with my now-husband. It has artists, scammers, smart people who find their own naivete, scenery, progress - it's almost like a more-readable contemporary Ayn Rand novel. Don't buy a house without reading this novel!
After reading Jane Smiley's abysmally bad "Ten Days in the Hills", I vowed never to waste any more time on Ms. Smiley's fiction. In a fit of masochism, I broke that vow to read "Good Faith", her 2003 novel centered on the real estate world, circa 1983 in the vicinity of Portsmouth (NH? The book never specifically says, but it's inferred to be north of Boston, MA), in the Reagan era. What was most surprising was that the book was pretty interesting, and occasionally flashed brilliance. Like many [...]
I'm in the minority--I loved this book and was not at all bored because the author looks at something very common and specifically American. In fact, all the characters were very easy for me to visualize and resembled people I know in real life.I really enjoyed this book and admired the author's skill in telling the story from the POV of a naive, good-natured everyman who ought to know better. To me the story is very timely, focusing as it does on how good and sensible people get caught up in sc [...]
This is an excellent look at an ordinary joe caught up in others’ schemes, in this case a big real estate project in 1980s New Jersey, when and where real estate was booming (I was living there then, in the fasting growing county in the U.S.). The novel’s brilliance and problems both come from having chosen the ordinary joe to tell the story.The brilliance involves the novel being one of things happening to (rather than by) the protagonist, but with his cooperation (even when he is doubtful) [...]
If Rex Pickett had written Sideways about real estate instead of wine, you would have Jane Smiley’s Good Faith.If you like a slow narrative about a field that you’re not passionate about, read Good Faith. It’s a 400+ page novel that is too involved in the uninteresting.It’s 1982, and the narrator is a man named Joey Stratford. Stratford is an honest and ethical real estate man who makes an average living. Life changes for the lonely, divorced, restless real estate man when an ex-IRS man [...]
Really enjoyed this book. Good retro book on S&L crisis of the 80s and the entire real estate development business. As a retired attorney who used to do a lot of this work, Smiley has all the characters and personas dead on. While you figured that the book would sort of end the way it did, nonetheless I love her writing and her characters and how she was able to capture that era of the real estate boom fueled by the S&L mess. Sadder is the fact that somebody will get away with this and n [...]
Near the end of 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Smiley has a chapter on how Good Faith came together for her. I was quite interested in that, so I ran out and read Good Faith before finishing that.Smiley mentions that Good Faith was problematic, and somewhat difficult for her. It certainly wasn't one of her favorites, and I think that shows when one reads it. However, I'm not disappointed I read it. She offers some very subtle commentary on the 1980s push for economic growth. And I don't know a [...]
I don't think I got this book; the whole time I was reading, and now as well, I felt like something big was going over my head, like I was missing some obvious piece. I agree with some reviewers, did move slowly, but the characters were precisely drawn real people and real life moves slowly at times. It reminds me of The Great Gatsby and An American Tragedy—the American Dream in action. Jane Smiley is a very interesting writer, though, and I did like the way she used her words. Hated the sex s [...]
This Jane Smiley novel took me back to the early 1980s and into the lives of inhabitants of a small American town. Joe Stratford is a likeable realtor who is closely connected to the Baldwin family. This connection nourishes him both personally and professionally. Rich with real estate adventures, Joe's life sails along until the arrival of former IRS agent Marcus Burns. The dynamic changes and so do the stakes. I could feel how things were going to turn out, but Joe's is starstruck by his first [...]
Eh it was good, bot great; a good summer book. This is my foray into the Jane Smiley catalog, so I don't know how the more lauded novels stand up against this one. I found her female characters to be empty and not particularly deep; the main male character was the most complex female character in the whole novel. Anyway, it's a fun read, but by no means necessary.
I hated this book! The characters are well developed but the story is not so interesting and there's some very graphic (and pointless) sexybe if it had something to do with the plot it would be okay but it seems like it's just dropped into the book for the naughtiness of it.
I don't know why I keep reading Jane Smiley. A Thousand Acres was incredible. Obviously, the woman can tell a story. Everything I read after ATA,however, is a combination of boring plus explicit sex scenes. It's disarming.
I was ripping along happily to nearly the end, then I suddenly stopped caring. Probably more to do with me than the book, because this lady sure can turn a phrase.
The plot could have been more active, but her writing is so even, balanced and grounded that your focus doesn't stray.
Couldn't finish it. Oh Jane Smiley, I appreciate you trying your hand at various types of novels and styles, but this one didn't work so well.
rockymountainnews/newsHot propertyJenny Shank, Special To The NewsPublished April 25, 2003 at midnightGood Faith, Jane Smiley's new novel, concerns the quintessentially human journey of a man toward the realization that he was the sucker who was born that minute. Although Smiley has explored some of these themes previously, including divorce and power struggles among families and colleagues, Good Faith once again transports readers to an entirely different milieu than those of her earlier books. [...]
My first reading of Smiley. I liked the book, plot, characters, and flow. She does well with words. It was good summer reading. BUT. The main character was so flawed and idiotic. I know she did that on purpose, but I am at a point in my life where I deal with people whom I may also deem flawed and idiotic. I realize that is not my best self out there, and to those of you that know me and the many teenagers in my life, it was hard to read this book. I just wanted to shake the main character and s [...]
No one should turn to Mark Twain for financial advice. But the man who managed to lose at least two fortunes did famously and wisely recommend buying real estate: "God's not making any more of it."Fortunately, the supply of novels about real estate is still strong. Richard Ford's "Independence Day" and Steven Millhauser's "Martin Dressler" both won Pulitzer Prizes, and Tom Wolfe's mansion, "A Man in Full," should have.With Jane Smiley's new novel, another prime parcel has come on to the market. [...]
As usual, i found that Jane Smiley's writing style was a comfortable read that pulled me through the book. Smiley presents a team of flawed characters trying for a huge real estate development success. The narrator and main character, Joe, seems to operate completely on the basis of his emotional gut reactions to situations, without much analytical insight to his decisions. Not surprising, then, that after the deal implodes he is left wondering what happened. A team of flawed characters, and not [...]
Do you like real estate? Do you like boring, old, sexist men? Do you like a plot you can guess from chapter one? Then this is the book for you. I only finished it because I love the author, but I didn't need to because I knew what was going to happen (and hoped I was wrong) from the beginning. Avoid this one unless a super fan or you answered yes to the above questions.
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