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Private Life by Jane Smiley

In Private Life, Margaret Mayfield is born soon after the civil war and is raised in Missouri. Still unmarried at 27, she catches the affections of the town's most famous man, Captain Andrew Early, a naval officer and famous astronomer. After they marry, his career takes her a long way from home to the San Francisco area. It's a marriage that finds Margaret a servant to her husband's obsession with science. They are beset by personal tragedy and Early's astronomical theories invite ridicule. As World War II approaches, her husband begins a descent into madness. Accepting that she won't find contentment within her marriage, Margaret learns to find meaning in her life in the people she meets outside of it. Jane Smiley's novel has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "Private Life is a quantum leap for this author, a book that -- despite its slow start and initial glare -- burrows deep into the psyche and stays. It kept me up all night, long after I'd finished it, remembering the lives of my mother and grandmothers, recalling every novel about women I had ever read, from 'Anna Karenina' to 'My Antonia.'"
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Washington Post review
by Marie Arana

San Francisco Chronicle review
by Nina Schuyler

New York Times review
by Sven Birkerts

St. Louis Post-Dispatch review
by Harper Barnes

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review
by Mike Fischer

The Telegraph review
by Lorna Bradbury

Seattle Times review
by Moira Macdonald

BookPage review
by Amy Scribner review
by Ray Palen

Boston Globe review
by Mameve Medwed

Jane Smiley
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