Posted by: Kate | October 19, 2011

Book Review: My Antonia

Another book review (told you I’ve been reading a lot)!

My Antonia, by Willa Cather, is a story about an immigrant girl and a prairie boy, as told by the boy (all grown up) to an unknown editor. The writing is gentle, yet vividly descriptive, and certainly transported me to a different time and place. Cather’s ability to tell the story consistently from Jim’s point of view is flawless, it provides an innocence to the story, even while she touches on women’s rights and immigrant issues.

The era of prairie settlement and town development happened as quickly as our current era of communication is occurring. From childhood to adulthood, Jim and Antonia saw many changes. Yet Cather doesn’t dwell on these changes by themselves, they are part of the fabric of what is an intimate story between two people thrown together in childhood.

I liked the small details as well. Things like the two hired hands leaving, and only receiving one letter from them and then nothing further, or receiving newspaper clippings as a way of keeping up with news from other towns. When I was young overseas phone calls were very expensive, and so whenever we wanted to tell our grandparents things we had to write letters, send news clippings, or make tapes (mum used to record us playing piano for our grandmother to hear). Cather’s attention to these little details make the story come alive.

Willa Cather is an important writer in American literature, but again one that isn’t studied in Canada. I certainly enjoyed this book, and Cather’s writing style, very much.

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Responses

  1. This certainly sounds like a great read! I love your ‘reviews’, it’s helped me decide on what to read next (tho’ I haven’t yet started :)) I’ve heard of Willa Cather but can’t remember why? Has she written other books?

    • Yup, me again, ha ha. I love detailed descriptions, it really sets the tone. (copied from your post: I liked the small details as well.).

      It’s the little things that (really) count!

  2. oh i love willa cather! she’s from nebraska, just like me. :)
    you would also really enjoy “oh pioneers!” and “a lost lady.”

  3. I’ve heard of this book and author but have yet to read her. I’m big on details too…which I think is the reason I have problems reading Hemingway but adore Steinbeck. ;)

  4. […] Rocks, Waves, Beach […]


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