(P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Willa Cather amazes with her ability to use straightforward sentences and character conversation to plumb deeply into the human experience. Did Hemingway learn this from her? My Antonia is a powerful examination of the resilience of human values under the test of harsh living. David Colacci's quick and clear narration is superb. The Introduction is a sleeper. Upon re-reading it I found the impact of the rest of the story redoubled.
While I didn’t love this novel, I did like the way the story was told and the emotions it evoked. Living in the western US in the early 20th century was no picnic. I had to laugh at myself and pretty much everyone else in modern society for being such wimps. Antonia worked like a dog and actually liked it. She liked to work as hard as a man did and was restless and bored when she had to live in town. It wasn’t just her, everyone worked themselves to death, but considered it their place; a higher calling even. They were pioneers and that was an amazing thing to them. Not everyone could be one; they were a people set apart. Out in the wilderness carving out civilization an acre at a time.
Not all of it was terribly civil though. The attitudes and customs of the newer immigrants were treated with suspicion. In turn the immigrants distrusted the more established Americans and longed for the land they had left. I have to agree with someone in the novel who suggested that they go back if they found it to be so horrible. Instead, one kills himself out of despair rather than learn the language or adapt. It was the beginning of my phase of distaste and outright dislike for Antonia and the rest of her family. They were terrible neighbors and Jim’s grandfather just took it and never taught them a lesson in how to get along.
It was a phase though, and when Antonia and the rest of the family began to act like part of the community I fell back into my previous attitude toward her; puzzlement. I couldn’t figure out why Jim (or anyone else) found her so beguilingly attractive. She wasn’t to me. She was just an uneducated farm kid who became an uneducated mother to a herd of kids in the end. She didn’t strike me as anyone special since 100s of other women were in the same position as she was. I didn’t get it and so the story stayed distanced from me, like an old movie I know I’m supposed to appreciate for its artful direction, dialog or photography, but one that just doesn’t light me up inside. I can understand why others love My Antonia; it’s very beautifully written and romantic, but it didn’t reach me if you know what I mean. It stayed remote and untouchable. I couldn’t help comparing it to The Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and how the story of those pioneering people really did reach me and I could easily imagine them as real people. Cather didn’t bring that home to me with this novel. I can see why some would love it, I’m just not one of them.
Having worked in a bookstore, I often passed by this classic book. And, sad to say, I "judged the book by the cover" and decided that it looked boring. When Audible put it on a sale promotion, I decided to go ahead and order it. What a wonderful surprise! I enjoyed My Antonia immensely. I can now see why it is a classic. Willa Cather certainly has a beautiful way with description and the narrator of this audiobook did a superb job of making her words come alive.
Classic story of American pioneers in the heartland.I think this was one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I have had with Audible.I highly recommend this reading of My Antonia
A beautifully told tale of immigrants and established Americans living together in late nineteenth century Nebraska. The primary characters are complex enough to seem real. Willa Carter is certainly a nice find from the past.
No particular book. Just other books by writers in that time period.
When the lecherous old man finds the author rather than Antonia in his bed.
Not one particular moment.
A wonderful story of friendship and of a community.
Yes. I loved the story
Depicts the life of a boy raised in Nebraska, as was Willa Cather, and so it is slightly autobiographical, but it lets the reader know about the early days of the Midwest and how life was there for immigrant families
No, but this was very well read.
No, its too long for one sitting, great for a long car trip.
I would recommend all of Cather's books. They are great to listen to because the stories are so well told.
Linda in Omaha
Loved it. I live in Nebraska and have heard many references to Willa Cather's writing. I have read many excerpts of her stories, but never a whole book. Her characters are well filled out and very "real" in their acitions and lives. You can almost feel the wind across the prairie and smell the wildflowers of spring. "My Antonia and "O Pioneers" are probably some of her most well-known works. David Colacci, the narrator, was quite mismerizing to listen to. I couldn't have enjoyed it more. A great listen to a great classic.
This story has so much of my life in it that it could have been my biography. Narration was great & I will listen to it more than once & recommend it to my friends, for sure!
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content