"More than any other person we remembered, this girl seemed to mean to us the country, the conditions, the whole adventure of our childhood. To speak her name was to call up pictures of people and places, to set a quiet drama going in one's brain . . . Ántonia."
Along with O Pioneers!, this magnificent, moving story of a pioneer woman is considered the finest of Willa Cather's prairie novels, a true American classic in both its intimate, episodic Nebraska, with her family, Ántonia finds no white-framed farmhouse or snug barn. Instead, the cultured Shimerda family finds itself huddled into a primitive sod house buffeted by the ceaselessly blowing winds of the Midwest prairie. For her childhood friend Jim Burden, Ántonia comes to embody the elemental spirit of this frontier, despite the events that nearly destroy her family and leave her seduced and abandoned. But passionate, beautiful, and strong enough to work the fields alongside the men, Ántonia survives without compromising the rich, deep power of her nature. And Willa Cather's lush descriptions of the rolling Nebraska grasslands interweave with the warmly human tale of a woman coming of age in the early days of the century to become an epic tale and a chronicle of America's past. My Ántonia is one of those rare, highly prized works of great literature which not only enriches its readers but immerses them in a tale superbly told.
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