Cather's classic looks back at life on the Nebraska plains from the late 1800s to the turn of the century. The novel is perfect for audio - the narrative tone of reminiscence set when two life-long friends recall the adventures of their childhood. George Guidall's relaxed and unassuming presentation allows the listener to forget the narrator and enjoy the listening experience. He delivers a deep portrait of a pioneer farm community, and especially of its immigrant girls from Denmark, Sweden, and Bohemia, whom the narrator, Jim Burden, especially loves. Guidall is subtly in tune with the writing at all times.
The Shimerda family come to Nebraska from Bohemia - but they find the promised land of opportunity a harsh and unforgiving reality. Young Jim Burden - the narrator of the tale - who lives with his grandparents on a homestead nearby, finds ways to be neighborly and to help the Shimerdas and in the process comes to befriend the daughter of the family, Ántonia. For Jim, Ántonia is an embodiment of the female pioneer - self-sufficient, vigorous, and strong enough to withstand the daily challenges of maintaining a family in a primitive countryside. Ántonia's character makes such an impression on Jim, that in later years, he feels compelled to immortalize her in words.
(P)1994 by Recorded Books, Inc.; Cover Art by Tinam Valk, ©1994 by Recorded Books
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
I prefer Cather's 'Death Comes for the Archbishop', but 'My Antonia' is still beautiful, soothing; "a rich mine of life, like the founders of early races." Willa Cather, for me, is one of those deep rivers of American writing. Everything seems to flow gently and slow, but there is huge power and great depth in every page.
George Guidall delivers another solid narration, but the overall production quality is not very good. It sounds like it was recorded using wet equipment in a tin box.
Willa Cather's My Antonia is clearly an American classic, and I can recommend it on that basis alone, but beyond that story she tells, through the voice of Jim Burden, the narrator, is just riveting. Many of us have been to early American homes that are maintained by state governments or the National Park Service, and they're fine; but here is a story that tells us what days in the life of a real pioneering family was like. What was it really like to travel for more than a month (overland from Bohemia to some European port, sail across the Atlantic, take train after train to some rail head beyond Kansas City, and then by horse) to a wind blown prairie that you now had to live on, and if you didn't make up your mind to live on it you would most certainly die on it. What was it like to live in a hole in the ground during an entire Nebraska winter? Would you really like to be the very first human being to bust Nebraska sod with a plow so that you convert it into crop land? If you thought life was hard for those people, think again. It was really, really hard. But despite the harshness and the frequent tragedies in their lives, this is a story about the triumph of the human spirit.
The subtle relationship between Jim and Antonia.
The Nebraska winter with primitive shelters in pioneer times
He continues to be one of my favorites. His distinct voice for each character and dialect never leaves you in doubt who is speaking. He reads as if this is his story.
It is hard to understand the reader. The volume is much below normal audible books and it is unpleasant to listen to the story because of the sound, not the story.
As one of the classics of American literature this book was on one of the reading lists that I did not fully appreciate. Now 50 years later I am very happy to have remembered Willa Cather's name and because the reader is so good, bought the book. What a wonderful and rewarding experience.
I listen to Antonia’s Audio, and I think that it helped me a lot. Because by listening to this book I can understand each word of My Antonia. I think it’s the great place to buy Audios for books, its cheap and best quality.
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