Willa Cather's Pulitzer Prize winning narrative tells of the making of a young American soldier. Claude Wheeler, the sensitive, aspiring protagonist, resembles the youngest son of a peculiarly American fairy tale. His fortune is ready-made for him, but he refuses to settle for it. Alienated from his crass father and pious mother, all but rejected by a wife who reserves her ardor for missionary work, and dissatisfied with farming, Claude is an idealist without an ideal to cling to. It is only when his country enters the First World War that Claude finds what he has been searching for all his life.In One of Ours, Willa Cather explores the destiny of a grandchild of the pioneers, a young Nebraskan whose yearnings impel him toward a frontier bloodier and more distant than the one that vanished before his birth. It is a canny and vital portrait of an American psyche at once skeptical and romantic, restless and heroic.
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Yes. In fact, I plan to. I feel Cather has delivered a meaningful novel but I am too ignorant to translate it. I have marked this as re-readable because I want to read it again a few years from now. I would to relive Claude's struggle and perhaps understand him better than I did this time around. He deserves as much.
There are several memorable moments to this book. There was the time when Claude first found happiness in education - and then his father callously broke him. The last scene in the book was also quite memorable....but has admittedly caused me much confusion. I won't go into other examples so as not to spoil the story but they also don't seem to matter. I have fully accepted that I probably do not quite understand the book....but the more I think of it the more I question whether the book is about Claude at all....that it is instead about the change in American culture and customs from an Agricultural based economy to a more technology and convenience driven economy. I remain quite confused on the title.
Underwood's performance was very mechanical to me. Part of the joy of audiobooks is the benefit of having a bit of emotional play to the narration. Underwood was dry and business-like. I also didn't like how her voice made Claude's voice seem more feminine and tender.
It left me confused. It has been awhile since I have thought so much about a book after reading it. I have read dozens of reviews from others; 3-4 analyses of the book; a terribly-written college essay found on the internet. I feel like the book wants to tell me something and I want to hear it....I'm just not ready yet.
Coming of Age/World War I Story
- Jay Quintana