My Ántonia by Willa Cather
My Ántonia by Willa Cather is the final novel in the Great Plains trilogy, a book published over 100 years ago, a classic. This can be read as a stand alone novel even if it’s part of a trilogy. The story takes place at the end of the 19th century, in the Nebraskan prairie, which is beautifully described. I was less convinced by the storyline, which turned out to be boring a few times, with too many characters that were not doing a lot anyway.
Jim is a boy who lives with his grandparents and Ántonia is an immigrant who came to US with her family. The children become friends, but as they grow older they grow apart. He went on to university in New York while she remained and married. The book is Jim’s recollection of Ántonia and their time together.
In the book nothing happens, it’s a description after description, with episodes that didn’t feel connected or sometimes even relevant. The descriptions are beautiful, but it got too much for me.
I don’t have a lot of patience, but others do and they enjoyed the book, as I read 2 reviews with higher ratings than mine, from bloggers I know – Kelly and Leah. For me it was not a great book. I had high expectations after reading those reviews and I also hoped that a sedate book will be relaxing considering what I’m usually reading about (war, crimes, pandemics, genocide). I think I should stick to my rather gruesome topics as I do find those more engaging.
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
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My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes-ish
Published by: Penguin Classics
Year it was published: 2018 (first published in 1918)
About the author: Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Virginia, in 1873. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal. Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a BA in English.
After graduation in 1894, she worked as writer for various publications and as a school teacher for approximately 13 years, before moving to New York City for the remainder of her life.
Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, ‘One of Ours’ (1922), set during World War I. She travelled widely and often spent summers in New Brunswick, Canada. In later life, she experienced much negative criticism for her conservative politics and became reclusive, burning some of her letters and personal papers, including her last manuscript.
She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1943. In 1944, Cather received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an award given once a decade for an author’s total accomplishments.
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