2015-08-10

My Antonia, by Willa Cather

One of my greatest pleasures is to "discover," at this late point in my life, a well-known classic that I somehow have never read, and to discover that it is perfectly wonderful and amazing. And if the qualities that make it so amazing are such that I probably wouldn't have appreciated it at the age of 20 or even 30, so much the better!
I just finished My √Āntonia, by Willa Cather. I read it in a large-print edition from the library. I loved it. One of the outstanding features of this book (it sounds so trite to say this) is its amazing wealth of sensual detail about the appearance, sounds, smells, and feels of the early prairies, farms, and towns of Nebraska. I am not generally a great admirer of that kind of detailed scene-setting writing. I often get bored with it. If it's painting a picture, I think how I would much rather have the picture, and skip over it. But some of this writing, it's like poetry rather than prose, it's like music, music about history, dancing about architecture, it just defies category and opinion and sweeps you up into itself. Luscious. I loved it.