My Antonia

My Antonia

Book - 1918
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A successful lawyer remembers his boyhood in Nebraska and his friendship with an immigrant Bohemian girl.
Publisher: 1918
ISBN: 9780679602057
Branch Call Number: FICTION Cather 1918


From Library Staff

Nebraska author, set in Nebraska

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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Jul 21, 2020

The works of Willa Cather should be considered class literature of the American plains life.
Her work contains beautiful descriptions of the sometimes very harsh and unforgiving landscape of the western plains. Most importantly, her work also is about strong, resilient women of immigrant families in the late 18th century. Some of the works are based on her own life experiences, growing up in a small Nebraska community. But the story of the human struggles and successes is ageless. Her trilogy is worth reading more than once in life.

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.

Oct 17, 2017

Jim Burden moves to Black Hawk, NE to live with his grandparents after the deaths of his parents. It is there that he met the love of his life Antonia. Jim tells of his interactions with the local children, including Antonia, his work life, & life in general in the harsh conditions of the undeveloped land of the Nebraska prairie. But as it does with many of us, life pulled both Jim & Antonia is different directions. Jim, still unmarried, goes on to become a lawyer & decides to go back to Black Hawk to pay his past a visit. He reconnects with Antonia who is now married with children. She tells Jim of her life after they parted ways, the hard work she puts in each day to make a good life & a good farm for her family. Her husband is a city boy that has landed in the prairie lands of Nebraska, & this is part of the cause for Antonia's difficult work since she is the only one that is accustomed to hard work. Jim returns to his home & his work still pining over his beloved Antonia.

There wasn't any real climax to the story. It was a fairly boring account of a young boy's life in a small town in Nebraska....a bit too close to my own story as a girl that grew up in a very small town in rural south-east Kansas. This story confirmed (as if I needed confirmation) that I should not write a book about my life; it would be boring. Then to top it off, the story ends just after Jim visited Antonia, leading the reader to believe that Jim never marries because he cannot have is only love, Antonia. So depressing.

Age recommendation: 12 & up (it is entirely clean; it's just that I don't think younger readers would find it interesting at all)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 5.

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.

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Oct 17, 2017

jandt_mcmurray thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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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Nov 09, 2020

I recently toured the Nebraska state capitol and they have a bust of Willa Cather in the main hall. This encouraged me to read one of her books and I was not disappointed with My Ántonia. It was a well written reflective narrative with strong characters about the early days of settling in Nebraska including hard work, overcoming tragedy, finding joy and community connection.

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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