The Best Accessory?
Obviously, a book.
Whether it’s a novel, nonfiction narrative or an anthology, these are my most favorite selections.
Willa Cather’s My Ántonia is a true classic, first published in 1918. The book I am holding is a Penguin-Putnam edition published this millennium…
Willa Cather lived in Virginia for most of her life, but when she was nine or ten (sources vary), her family moved to Nebraska for a year. That became the basis for this story of Antonia Shimerda, a Bohemian emigrant who journeys to America with her family in the late nineteenth century.
The novel begins with the point of view of Jim Burden, a Virginian whose parents recently died. He is also travelling to Nebraska, in his case, to live with his grandparents on their prairie farm.
Jim and Antonia grow up together, both romantics who see beauty in a harsh world. They grow together,
love each other,
protect each other,
hate each other and all who are unfortunate enough
to see them through their teen years.
The book is lyrical, poetic, beautiful, lovely, sad and an all-around favorite of mine.
It’s a great read for anyone who wants to see the familial side of Manifest Destiny,
or anyone who likes immigrant stories,
or love stories
(about people or places, or both).
Update 17 April 2018: Project Gutenberg has the full text of My Ántonia online (free)