Set in Nebraska, the story revolves around the hardscrabble existence of immigrant farmers in the vast Midwestern plains. Jim Burden, our narrator, is an orphan sent to live on his grandparent’s farm when he encounters Antonia, the spirited daughter of immigrant farmers. The story follows their trials and tribulations. It is a celebration of the fire and spirit that settled this land through hard work and struggle.
— Deon Stonehouse
In this symphonically powerful novel, Willa Cather created one of the most winning heroines in American fiction, a woman whose robust high spirits and calm, undemonstrative strength are emblematic of the virtues Cather most admired in her country.
Antonia Shimerda is the daughter of Bohemian immigrants struggling with the oceanic loneliness of life on the Nebraska prairie. Through the eyes of Jim Burden, her tutor and disappointed admirer, we follow Antonia from farm to town and through hardships both natural and human, surviving everything from poverty to a failed romance--and not only surviving, but triumphing. In the end, Antonia is exactly what Burden says she is: a woman who "had that something which fires the imagination, [a woman who] could stop . . . one's breath for a moment by a look or a gesture that somehow revealed the meaning in common things."
About the Author
WILLA CATHER, author of twelve novels, including O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and Death Comes for the Archbishop, was born in Virginia in 1873 but grew up in Nebraska, where many of her novels are set. She died in 1947 in New York City.
"No romantic novel ever written in America, by man or woman, is one half so beautiful as My Antonia."—H.L. Mencken