My Antonia Paperback
by Willa Cather
Part of the Dover Thrift Editions series
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 176 pages, illustrations
- Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
- Publication Date: 01/01/1995
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780486282404
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by gmillar
I really liked this. For a long time I shied away from the idea of it, and "O Pioneers", mostly because of my perception that the subject matter would be boring to me after I looked at the cover picture of nothing but wheat sheaves deep into a long, flat distance - boring picture really. But - the story start out grabbing my interest, as I was chewing on some tasty hash browns in McDonalds, by setting itself up in a present as two friends reminisced their Nebraska childhood. I read a lot of different, unconnected stuff but little of it is of this style. I found myself expecting surprises of a fantastic, raunchy and/or unbelievable proportions as the story built up to little climaxes in the lives of Jim, Lena, Tiny and Ántonia. It didn't happen that way. Each of those little climaxes finished in a refreshingly normal and realistic way - at least in the way of my growing up experiences. It was good to be kept in the realistic, as opposed to being bumped into the thrilling, for a change. The prose flowed beautifully. The descriptives were wonderful. I understand now why Willa Cather has been afforded such a high place in American literature. I will now go ahead and read "O Pioneers" when a copy drops into my lap again. I'll lay odds I'll enjoy that too.
Review by devenish
The story of Antonia Shimerda,a Bohemian emigrant,and Jim Burden,an American boy who befrends her. Beginning in their childhood when Jim teaches her to speak English and and one day when they are out together Jim manages to kill a huge snake which they both bring home in triumph. We follow them through their growing-up and into adult-hood and meet their many friends and members of their family.This is a story of ordinary people told in an extraordinary way. Once read it will never be forgotten.This is one of the few books of which one can truly say 'I am sorry this is finished'.
Review by kblinn
A prairie classic that is great for book discussion groups.
Review by mmignano11
For Cather, My Antonia was very much based on real life experience. She had a friend as a young girl, who was an immigrant hired girl, and she visited her when they were both adults and her friend was married with a large family, similar to Jim's visit to Antonia. Although, Cather was successful at that time, she felt the loss deeply of a relationship that had recently ended with Isabelle McClung, the love of her life, who became engaged to a concert violinist. She returned to her home town, Red Cloud Nebraska for 3 months to mourn the loss. It seems that Antonia and Jim's relationship mirrors Cather's feelings of failure in her personal life, but success in her professional life. Jim recognizes Antonia's contentment with her place in her life, and ultimately feels that sense of fulfillment, by the end of the book, after visiting with her.Many parts of the book are based on truth, such as the story of the wolves and many of the people who played a part in My Antonia, were people Cather knew, the Harlings were really the Miners, neighbors of the Cathers. There was that feeling, to me, that Cather was trying to impart something that struck a chord deep within her, and I think that is because she was basing so much of the story on experiencs that she had and people she knew. The story of the Cutter suicide which seems so innocuous at that point in the story was based on a loan shark Cather knew of who was cruel to his wife, throughout their marriage and finally shot her and killed himself. Just as in life it would have seemed so random and strange, it was when plunked into the story during Jim's visit. Cather's skill lay in bringing the story to light at just the right time, for the fascination of Antonia's children and the entertainment of Jim, who later checks on the facts of the story with another lawyer. I loved the last line, by Jim "Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past."