The Song of the Lark

The Song of the Lark

Book - 1999
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Blackwell North Amer
In this powerful portrait of the self-making of an artist, Willa Cather created one of her most extraordinary heroines. Thea Kronborg, a minister's daughter in a provincial Colorado town, seems destined from childhood for a place in the wider world. But as her path to the world stage leads her ever farther from the humble town she can't forget and from the man she can't afford to love, Thea learns that her exceptional musical talent and fierce ambition are not enough.  

It is in the solitude of a tiny rock chamber high in the side of an Arizona cliff--"a cleft in the heart of the world"--that Thea comes face to face with her own dreams and desires, stripped clean by the haunting purity of the ruined cliff dwellings and inspired by the whisperings of their ancient dust. Here she finds the courage to seize her future and to use her gifts to catch "the shining, elusive element that is life itself--life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose." In prose as shimmering and piercingly true as the light in a desert canyon, Cather takes us into the heart of a woman coming to know her deepest self.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1999
Edition: 1st Vintage classics ed
ISBN: 9780375706455
Branch Call Number: FICTION CATHER
Characteristics: 429 p. ; 21 cm


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Oct 10, 2019

Great characters and emotionally engaging. scenes set beautifully

Jul 29, 2018

“He knew that this was an unbecoming and ungrateful state of mind, and he reproached himself for it. But he could not help wondering why it was that life, even when it gave so much, after all gave so little. What was it that he expected and missed? Why was he, more than he was anything else, disappointed?”
Though born in Virginia, Willa Cather became inextricably linked with Nebraska where she spent her childhood and college years. Her finest novels, "O Pioneers!" and "My Antonia" are set there. 1915's "The Song of the Lark" is sometimes grouped with those books as the Prairie Trilogy, even though most of it takes place in Colorado and New York. Like her other great books, it's beautifully written, nuanced, and timeless. Even though she won a Pulitzer, I don't think she's ever quite gotten her due.

JCLJoyceM Dec 04, 2015

I loved the first few sections of the book, particularly the first one. The rest drag on and on until I gave up on forcing myself to finish to the end.

CPL_Laura Dec 07, 2013

From lovely but limiting small-town Colorado to the harsh streets and music studios of Chicago, and, ultimately, the opera stages of the world, Cather charts the struggles and growth of a singer whose voice is “discovered” one evening by her Chicago piano teacher. Honest and unsentimental with dialog that sounds startlingly contemporary, Song of the Lark is a portrait of an artist you won’t forget. (Just be patient with the first chapter, which gets off to a slow start.)

Apr 12, 2013

a agree whole-heartedly w/Aurelia, including my opinion that Death Comes for the Archbishop was even better (like clean dry clear desert air).

Oct 27, 2010

I love Willa Cather's writing. She has such insight into human nature that the characters are very vivid, despite writing about relatively quiet lives.

This was my 2nd of her books. I like Death Comes for the Archbishop better but this one was marvellous, especially the first half.

A must read for anyone interested in the arts -- or growing up, or the American west, or... or... Every 20 to 30 pages there is A Sentence - something so surprising, so ordinary, so insightful and so perfectly said that you just have to stop and savour it... and reread that paragraph.

An author who deserves to be much better known and widely read.


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