Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

If you haven’t read Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, go borrow it from your mother. If you’ve already done that, go see Smiley yourself and ask her straight out if it was just money that prompted her to feed her novel to the Hollywood machine. Whatever you do, don’t see the movie; you’ll miss the whole point of Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book. The story, set on a brutal Midwestern farm, updates King Lear as three daughters battle their abusive father. Somehow managing to sustain women characters whose lives surpass their wedding vows, A Thousand Acres denies us the myth of pretty farmers’ daughters and happy endings. The movie fails on both counts. Save your money and go see Smiley discuss the book and “Fiction and Modern Life” at 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Funger Hall, Room 103, 2201 G St. NW. FREE. (202) 994-6816. (Amanda Ripley)