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Ántonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, "had not lost the fire of life," lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather's novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.
As if all this humanity weren't enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature--the high, red grass, the road that "ran about like a wild thing," the endless wind on the plains--with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we've just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin (later moving on to Harvard and eventually staying put on the East Coast in another neat encompassing of a stage in America's development) and learns Virgil's phrase "Optima dies ... prima fugit" that Cather uses as the novel's epigraph. "The best days are the first to flee"--this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My Ántonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue. --Melanie Rehak --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
This is a classic novel, wonderful and compelling, that everyone should read.Published 9 hours ago by lairsho
Wonderful descriptions of important characters and a introduction to life in early settlement days by people of various ethnic groups.Published 10 days ago by Mary Lou Stanley
Beautiful story of simpler times. Loved the very descriptive expression of the prairie and the memories recounted by Jim when he returns for a visit 20 years later. Read morePublished 11 days ago by M. Williams
Very well written. Good character development. Informative about that period.Published 11 days ago by Paul G. Schurman