So Big: A Novel (Paperback)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
"A masterpiece." — Literary Review • "A novel to read and to remember." —New York Times
Widely regarded as the masterwork of celebrated author and Algonquin Round Table mainstay Edna Ferber—who also penned other classics including Show Boat, Giant, Ice Palace, Saratoga Trunk, and Cimarron—So Big is a powerful and stirring portrait of one of the most memorable women in American literature, and still resonates today with its unflinching views of poverty, sexism, and the drive for success.
Set in Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century, So Big tells the story of Selina Peake, orphaned at nineteen after her father is shot and killed in a gambling house. Alone and resolved to make something of her life, Selina gets a job as a schoolteacher in a farming community outside Chicago and falls in love with a kind but struggling farmer. She soon leaves the schoolhouse for long grueling days in the fields and gives birth to a son, Dirk, nicknamed “So Big.” When she finds herself unexpectedly widowed, she takes the reins of the farm, defying convention and all those around her, determined to give Dirk every opportunity to follow his dreams.
So Big is a must-read for fans of contemporary novelists such Willa Cather (O Pioneers!), Pearl S. Buck (The Good Earth), and Marjorie Rawlings (The Yearling).
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Edna Ferber (1885-1968) was a novelist, short-story writer, and playwright whose work served as the inspiration for numerous Broadway plays and Hollywood films, including Show Boat, Cimarron, Giant, Saratoga Trunk, and Ice Palace. She co-wrote the plays The Royal Family, Dinner at Eight, and Stage Door with George S. Kaufman and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big.
“It has the completeness, and finality, that grips and exalts and convinces. . . . So Big is a masterpiece.” — Literary Review
“A thoughtful book, clean and strong, dramatic at times, interesting always, clear-sighted, sympathetic, a novel to read and to remember.” — New York Times
“[A] standout.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Recommended reading for our times.” — Washington Post
“Her books were . . . vivid and had a sound sociological basis. She was among the best-read novelists in the nation, and critics of the 1920s and 1930s did not hesitate to call her the greatest American woman novelist of her day.” — New York Times
“Edna Ferber could spin a tale.” — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Few writers can equal Edna Ferber. She writes so smoothly and brightly, with so much gusto, with so wideawake a style and so clever a selection of detail that she routs all that is common-place and casts out all that is dull.” — New York Times
“There can be no question that So Big gets close to the life of its chosen bit of American soil, or that it is persuasively human in its touch.” — Springfield Republican