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My Mortal Enemy
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The story is about a wealthy country girl who loses her inheritance by marrying a man she is passionate about. She expects her life to continue in this fashion, and when the marriage evens out she becomes bitter and nasty. In Cather's letter, she tries to explain how her passion for writing is so overwhelming that it makes everyday life seem flat, In "Enemy" the story explores how the excitement of passion can distort the expectations of marriage.
The story is beautifully written with Cather's careful words that carry so much depth. "Enemy" is not her best work in that it's not very interesting. The wife in the sad marriage cannot see beyond her own needs, has no intention of changing, and sees her life as a disaster unique to her.
This is a long, short story about a woman named Myra Henshawe, who chooses love over money. It's told through the eyes of a young woman (Nellie Birdseye) who meets Myra and her husband in Manhattan and, ten years later, in California. The story is divided in two parts. The first part reads like a fairy tale when money and friends are plentiful. Unfortunately, there is no "they lived happily ever after." The second half describes the Henshawes' fallen times and the effect of age and poverty on Myra.
To be honest, it's not an enjoyable read. It's like an elegy for people who must face the inevitable advances of Time, old age, the loss of friends, and the bitterness that ensues. There's a thinness to this story, like the other novels I've read by Willa Cather, but it also has a haunting quality. I left this novel feeling sad and depressed.