In One of Ours, Willa Cather explores the destiny of a grandchild of the pioneers, a young Nebraskan whose yearnings impel him toward a frontier bloodier and more distant than the one that vanished before his birth. It is a canny and vital portrait of an American psyche at once skeptical and romantic, restless and heroic.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audio Inc.
Half the book is about Claude's coming of age in the Midwest. He becomes disappointed with life as he grows into adulthood. He has to take over the family farm and end his university studies. Not only that, but he marries someone he shouldn't have. Cather writes well, but the protagonist and his plight is far from compelling. The other half is about Claude joining the military and fighting in World War I. Perhaps it's unfair, but I couldn't help but compare this to All Quiet on the Western Front. And the latter book covers all aspects of that war -- its horror and senselessness, its costs in lives and humanity -- much, much better.
Additionally, a lot of minor storylines are left unresolved. For example, his wife goes to China to help her ailing missionary sister and that's it. We never hear about her again.
I purchased this book because I really liked My Antonia, a masterpiece of Cather. I have read O'Pioneers-beautiful, but not like My Antonia. One of Ours was disappointing. Slow moving all throughout and the end was of no event.
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