After the death of his parents, Jim is sent to live with his grandparents on the Nebraska plains. By chance, on the same train is a bright-eyed girl, Antonia, who will become his neighbor and lifelong friend. Her family has emigrated from Bohemia to start a new life of farming, but they soon lose their money and must work hard just to survive. Through it all, Antonia retains her natural pride and free spirit.Jim's grandparents have a large and tidy farm. They are kind to him, but conventional. Later Jim becomes a scholar and Antonia becomes a "hired girl" in town. She blossoms in the new freedom that town life offers. Jim can only taste this life vicariously through her recounting of town gossip and of the "dance tent". Antonia's strong will, spirit, and honesty allow her to thrive in the midst of hardship.
Cather paints a rich picture of life on the prairie at the beginning of the 20th century and depicts some of the many cultures that came to comprise the United States.
Willa Cather's My Antonia was considered a masterpiece when it was published in 1918 and Cather's star has only risen since then. Frequently shortlisted with Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Hemingway as one of the early 20th century's American masters, Cather painted a portrait of the Nebraska plains that helped to induct the Midwest to the main stage of American letters. But My Antonia transcends regionalism. Narrator Patrick Lawlor brings a tremulous intensity and a keen insight into this story of a man struggling to understand his relationship to Antonia, a lifelong friend and free spirit of the Nebraska plains.
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An amazingly vivid novel
A True Portrait of Nebraska