My Antonia

My Antonia

Book - 1996
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Of Ántonia, the passionate and majestic central character in Willa Cather's greatest novel, the narrator, Jim Burden, says that she left "images in the mind that did not fade-that grew stronger with time." The same is true of the book in which Cather enshrines her heroine. On one level, My Ántonia is a straight forward narrative, written in limpid prose of uncanny descriptive accuracy, about the struggles endured by a family of immigrant pioneers and the small community that surrounds them on the unsettled Nebraska plains. On another, it is a novel that represents a perfect marriage of form and feeling.

In its magnificent tableaux of human beings caught in the toils of an abundant and overpowering natural world, and in the quiet, understated sympathy it displays for life of every sort, My Ántonia is a novel that effortlessly encompasses history and wilderness and the destiny of the individual-even as it lovingly and unsentimentally portrays a woman whose robust spirit and enduring warmth make her emblematic of what Cather most admired in the American people.

Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, c1996
ISBN: 9780679447276
Branch Call Number: 813.5 C363m 1996
Characteristics: xxxiii, 272 p. ; 22 cm


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From Library Staff

Set in Nebraska in the late 19th century, this tale of the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family planning to farm on the untamed land.

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Dec 02, 2019

As an Omaha native with family that grew up in the Sandhills of Nebraska this story is a great illustration of our shared immigrant history.

Nov 09, 2019

Another of the novels with historical background in our current reading project. To some extent, this story reflects Cather's own experiences on the frontier. The colors she uses in describing life in Nebraska in the latter part of the 19th Century are wonderful. Her story is about not just one strong woman, but about a number of determined individuals. The book is a must read for those who have lost faith in the promise of America and want to keep all would-be immigrants out.

Jul 31, 2019

The life of Ántonia Shimerda and other Bohemian immigrant girls in homesteader Nebraska is told through the eyes of Jim Burden, a slightly younger neighbor, friend and admirer.

Wanting to read some books set on the prairie I thought I was reading this classic again. Now, I wonder. Nothing came back to me after all these years. I’ve loved many of her books, including 'Oh Pioneers!' and 'The Song of the Lark,' and always recommended 'Death Comes for the Archbishop' to friends spending time in Santa Fe. Loved this, too. Lovingly told. Maybe I was confused by the Norwegian immigrant must-read, Ole Rølvaag’s 'Giants in the Earth' and its tragic heroine Beret Hansa. Wrong.

Nov 01, 2017

What an absolutely beautiful collection of words, ideas, memories, forms, shapes, and feelings!! This book meant the world of my childhood articulated so precisely and accurately to me though I did not grow up in the MidWest, it made my love of the life my grandparents built in the American South even more clear and tender.

Jul 18, 2017

Wonderful book and will interest many readers with a plot including action, romance, friendship and remberance.

Apr 14, 2017

If you want to get a good, solid feel of life in the early 20th century mid-west, this book will do it. There was some drama, but mostly it was about the land and the people, especially those who came to America from Eastern Europe. I felt that I had lived in those times and knew those people well. Everything was real, nothing forced or fabricated right down to the weather on a particular day.

ArapahoeAndrew Aug 01, 2016

Brilliant, beautiful prose with strong characters in an alluring setting. Some passages make you close your eyes and feel the desolation and calm of the Plains as its inhabitants grapple with life itself. If the Midwest appeals to you at all, this book will make you feel at home.

Jan 08, 2015

Well-loved author, Kansas-Nebraska pioneer story. Great read.

Oct 07, 2014

My Antonia, written by Willa Cather, is the final novel in what has been called the Prairie Trilogy. It is story of Antonia Shimerda, told (years later) by one of her friends from childhood, Jim Burden, an orphaned boy from Virginia. Though he leaves the prairie, Jim never forgets the Bohemian girl who profoundly influenced his life (though I believes that he realizes this through the writing of the story). Set mainly in Nebraska, Jim focuses his story on the Shimerdas, an immigrant family whose daughter Antonia becomes one of his most dear childhood friends. Structured into five sections, the novel follows both Antonia and Jim from childhood through adulthood and the events that have shaped their lives. Antonia survives her father's suicide, hires herself out as household help, is abandoned at the altar, gives birth out of wedlock, but eventually achieves fulfillment in life and in the land. Jim, a successful East-coast lawyer, remains romantic, nostalgic, and but ultimately unfulfilled in life. This novel is everything you would expect from a Cather novel, straightforward prose, beautiful descriptions of the vastness of landscape and life on the plains and complex engaging characters. 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

Aug 28, 2014

Conventional narrative, emotional love.story.

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Jun 05, 2014

carlastephenson thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

amysueoreilly Apr 27, 2012

amysueoreilly thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 99


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Jan 25, 2020

Beautiful description of prairie as well as native midwest ecosystem. About immigrant settlers in Nebraska in mid-life 1800s. Cycle of life, hardship, depth of human attachment, not about sex..I can see why it is termed "romantic" genre.


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Laura_X Feb 22, 2019

Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.


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