Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

Looks like I've found my least favorite Willa Cather novel.  So far. (I still have three other novels on my journey to read her published works chronologically.)  This pretty much stinks, both because many people adore this one (my husband says I'm a literature rebel) and because I've adored everything else of hers.  I didn't hate it, it isn't terrible, it was just really boring for me.  Like Gilead. (So chances are, if you loved that one, you'll love this one too.)

It felt so much slower than her other books, with less focus on the characters.  True, the landscape in this book (New Mexico) isn't much my thing.  Nor is the period in history (1850s acquisition of new territories) one that is currently entrancing me.  Nor is the subject matter (the Catholic church) one that holds my interest.  So if you are interested in those things I imagine you would have much better luck.

It spurred surging desires to jump into a bookstore and buy new books, which (I'm proud to say) I channeled into a more productive action: barreling through the last hundred pages so I could move on to one of the other lovelies on my shelf. The writing was breathtaking at times (as to be expected from Willa Cather) so I had to share a quote.  Maybe someday I'll be moving at a slower pace and will be better equipped to enjoy stories such as this, but for now I'm just glad I'm done!

"...you should not be discouraged; one does not die of a cold." 
The old man smiled.  "I shall not die of a cold, my son, I shall die of having lived."

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