Willa Cather's My Antonia was considered a masterpiece when it was published in 1918 and Cather's star has only risen since then. Frequently shortlisted with Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Hemingway as one of the early 20th century's American masters, Cather painted a portrait of the Nebraska plains that helped to induct the Midwest to the main stage of American letters. But My Antonia transcends regionalism. Narrator Patrick Lawlor brings a tremulous intensity and a keen insight into this story of a man struggling to understand his relationship to Antonia, a lifelong friend and free spirit of the Nebraska plains.
Jim's grandparents have a large and tidy farm. They are kind to him, but conventional. Later Jim becomes a scholar and Antonia becomes a "hired girl" in town. She blossoms in the new freedom that town life offers. Jim can only taste this life vicariously through her recounting of town gossip and of the "dance tent". Antonia's strong will, spirit, and honesty allow her to thrive in the midst of hardship.
Cather paints a rich picture of life on the prairie at the beginning of the 20th century and depicts some of the many cultures that came to comprise the United States.
©2002 Tantor Media, Inc. Originally published 1918.
This novel has such deep descriptions of the praire before and while it was being settled that I actually can picture every place in the novel in my mind. Parts of the novel still haunt my dreams. There are details and compelling descriptions of being snow-bound in cave-like early house and of being a German immigrant settling on the praire straight from the city. Best of all this novel to me celebrates the fact that to be successful in life doesn't have to mean riches and fame but can also mean living a good quite life without disaster and watching your children grow with in the company of old friends.
I first read this book back in the very early 70's. My husband was still in college then but became an English teacher. He recommended it and taught it for 35 years in a high school in Omaha. Incredible book. I was born and still live in Nebraska. It is a special view of the immigrants of this prairie land. I recommend it highly. I never take or have the time to read anymore and the iPod and audiobooks have opened up a world that I have missed a lot. I can do all sorts of household chores while listening to a book. This is a special story of the pioneers of Nebraska. Everything except the characters are real and as it really was back then. Will Cather tells it with the depth and magic it deserves.
This book is like Little House on the Prairie for grown-ups.
The reading is OK. The reader tries to use different accents for some of the different characters, but some of them are just plain annoying, and none of them really draw you into the story as is the case with some other narrators.
Read this with my daughter who was reading for a school assignment. If not for that, I probably woudn't have finished the book. On the plus side, it is pretty short.
This audiobook is a treasure. Cather's story and Patrick Lawlor's reading combine to create an experience that surpasses all expectation. You will believe that Jim Burden truly is telling you this tale, and with imagery so vivid that you may believe that his memories are your own. I want everyone I know to listen to this book! I know I will be listening to this one again. Thank you Mr. Lawlor!
I just loved the reader (Patrick Lawlor) who was remarkable not only for portraying the post-adolescent boy telling the tale, but also gave form to Antonia, as she grew from hardy immigrant girl - no sissy, she! - to virtual workhorse, never losing her spirit. I loved the setting - that prairie, wide, beautiful, untamed - and those people set out to tame it. I loved the various details - the dried mushrooms handcarried from Bohemia, so precious! (I was so intrigued by this book, I had to look up "Bohemia," because I had not known it was an actual country, had always heard the term "Bohemian" as though it was a region or an ethnic group. But no! A very important country until just very recently! ) A great, classic, "mind-expanding" story for this old Easterner! Most definitely highly recommended for young and old alike! (Especially old Easterners!)
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