O Pioneers!, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


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What a delightful tale of life and death on the American frontier. The descriptions of the land were sublime and the people within this story were all well rounded and realistic, with both strengths and weaknesses within each. My main complaint is that there wasn't enough of it. I felt there was a 400 page book hidden in this 122 page novella. The characters seemed to have so much more to tell, and we only got a glimpse of that within this book.But maybe......just maybe, sometimes less is more.In one line: Short tale of life and death and the beauty of a wilderness.

Review by

Rating: 3.75* of five<B>The Publisher Says</b>: Set on the Nebraska prairie where Willa Cather (1873–1947) grew up, this powerful early novel tells the story of the young Alexandra Bergson, whose dying father leaves her in charge of the family and of the lands they have struggled to farm. In Alexandra's long flight to survive and succeed, <I>O Pioneers!</i> relates an important chapter in the history of the American frontier.Evoking the harsh grandeur of the prairie, this landmark of American fiction unfurls a saga of love, greed, murder, failed dreams, and hard-won triumph. In the fateful interaction of her characters, Willa Cather compares with keen insight the experiences of Swedish, French, and Bohemian immigrants in the United States. And in her absorbing narrative, she displays the virtuoso storytelling skills that have made her one of the most admired masters of the American novel. <B>My Review</b>: Simple, unadorned prose gets very wearing when it's also missing some basic character-building. In 122pp, it's not possible to do a Proustian job of lovingly explaining why people are who they are. But [The Picture of Dorian Gray], also a shortie, has the most gorgeously subtle character-building; [Mrs. Dalloway] is another example; so one concludes that Cather just wasn't interested in Lou or Oscar or the French neighbors.As a moment in time, the book is invaluable. A concise slice of the life led by the crazy dreamers who decided the Old Country was no longer enough for them and their kids, packed what they could afford to carry, and vamoosed for the New World.There is a private society that's trying to get together a colony of people with all the talents necessary to keep themselves alive on Mars. It's a one-way ticket...just like the pioneers of old.How I wish I was young and healthy. I'd be on that rocket in a heartbeat.

Review by

Best summed up by the word "Eh." This books starts flat and ends flat, with nothing special happening in between. I'm shocked that so many people gave this high ratings. Personally, I think this one should be avoided. Nothing was gained from reading it.

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