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My 聲tonia [Paperback]

Willa Cather
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 21 1994 Dover Thrift Editions
One of Cather's earliest novels — written in 1918 — is the story of Antonia Shimerda, who arrives on the Nebraska frontier as part of a family of Bohemian emigrants. In quiet, probing depth, the story commemorates the spirit and courage of the immigrant pioneers whose persistence and strength helped to build America.

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About the Author

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather (1873–1947) spent her formative years in Nebraska, which was at that time frontier territory. Her exposure to the region's dramatic environment and intrinsic hardships — along with its diverse population of European-Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants — shaped and informed much of her fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A TIMELESS CLASSIC... July 19 2006
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
I first read this book when I was in junior high school. I admit that, at the time, I did not appreciate the strengths of the book and the quality of its writing. I am quite glad that I decided to give it another chance, as, having re-read it, I now understand why it is considered to be a classic in literature. It is simply a beautifully written book, covering many of the themes that one stumbles across in life and coalescing them into a work of extraordinary breadth.

The book is the story of two young people, Jim Burden and Antonia Shimerda. They meet for the first time when Jim is ten years old and Antonia is fourteen. Recently orphaned, Jim has moved to the Great Prairie to live with his grandparents in Nebraska. Antonia, on the other hand, has been wrenched from her homeland in Bohemia, emigrating with her parents to the United States and finding herself in Nebraska. Jim and Antonia's chance encounter on a train sets the stage for the forging of a friendship and unconditional love that time will not diminish.

The book relates the harshness of immigrant life through the eyes of Jim, who narrates the events contained in the book. There is a relentless stoicism about the book, which is written in spare, clear prose. With intense imagery and descriptive exactitude, late nineteenth century Nebraska comes to life. It also relates the paths that each of the characters choose to follow, as well as the vicissitudes of life that mold and shape them in ways that no one would have imagined.

The focus of the book, which is also a coming of age tale, seems to be on the female characters and their strengths. All the women in it seem to be survivors, despite the hardships that they encounter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Mine of Life Dec 18 2002
Willa Cather has much in common with Sarah Orne Jewett. Both saw the United States growing increasingly shallow and materialistic. In response, they wrote books capturing life in what may be viewed as its most simple and complete form. My Antonia is one of these novels, and the result is that it paints a vivid, beautiful picture of the potential of life.
The novel is narrated by Jim Burden. It begins with Jim as a young boy traveling to the open west to be raised by his grandparents on their Nebraskan farm. Antonia is a girl slightly older than Jim from a Bohemian family which is trying to survive the hard farming life. The rest of the novel follows the two as they live their complete lives-growing, maturing, suffering, and going through relationships-basically just trying as best they can to survive.
There are so many great things to say about this novel. The vision of humans surviving the harsh realities of farming in the Nebraska wilderness is intense and stark, but there is such beauty to be found as they undergo such hardships and keep forging ahead. This is what I see as the real greatness of the novel-it presents the great courage of man to just survive and the intense beauty which is found in survival. The whole image seems so indicative of the human condition, and the effect is truly life affirming.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Immigrants View of My Antonia Nov. 30 2000
By A Customer
Will Cather's, My Antonia, was a very different immigrant story. We all know that people migrate from their home town to supposedly a better place. In her book Cather writes of a family coming from Bohemia to Nebraska. This family is given the impression that Nebraska is a better place to live in, where there is more freedom and much to eat. This is not true in this story or any other real life story of immigrants. This family, as others, suffers the changes of being in a different and strange place. Cather explains in detail their sufferings, their losses and their victories.
Cathers descriptions of the country life are breathtaking. She tells how the immigrant settlers adventurously farm the prairie lands. She tells how this family is ignorant and how they bloom with thier struggles. And she tells of their isolation from culture.
Will Cather's great storytelling style is characterized by an ingenous pragmatism and avoidance of sentimentality. My Antonia is considered to be the author's masterpiece. I agree because it is an excellent story about a pioneer woman who has earned a distinguished place in American fiction. On my scale, My Antonia, by Will Cather, is a perfect 10 because it is superb writing about a strong willed, courageous woman.
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3.0 out of 5 stars HS Students, Does your life have a plot? Dec 8 1999
By A Customer
Despite being written in 1918, My Antonia is timeless. After reading the reviews posted here, I am both encouraged and discouraged by the current crop of teens. I read comments from honor students using the wrong homonyms, poor punctuation and grammer, too narrow minded to understand; while other teens (aware that this was not their first choice - no action - little sex - no plot) could appreciate My Antonia as an illustration of a time and place no longer in existence.
My Antonia is a book of lost childhood dreams, but also of indomitable spirit. I am hopeful that English teachers are pointing out the validity of its illustrations, not only of landscapes, but of goals common to man despite his ethnicity, and of the fact that society's expectations are not always realized. Society saw Lena and Tiny as successes, and commercially they were, but the true success belonged to My Antonia.
As one gets older a poignant feeling of childhood develops, often attached to a particular person. My Antonia spotlights this phenomena - a condition that may remain illusive until teenage has passed.
I gave the book three stars as a read (since it was not a 'can't put it down, gotta carry it to the john' kind of book), however for My Antonia's lanscapes and portrait of an era, it was definitely a 5 star book.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive slice of American Midwest pioneer life
My Antonia was full of interesting descriptions of pioneer life, the land, the people, the hardships, etc. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eileen Knight
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Not avery good story.There are fair better reads onthe market.I lent this book to one of my friends and they did not think it was agood story.
Published 5 months ago by helen
5.0 out of 5 stars My Antonia
This is a book I intended to read for years, and after listening to a radio review, I decided that 'now' is the right time. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Chris Olsen
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, if ever there was one.
My Antonia is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. No, it's certainly no John Grisham novel, and so you cannot go into it looking for cowboys and guns. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I think this book is excellent. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Historical Fiction. Bye
Published on March 15 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars another great book by Willa Cather
My Antonia is a very well-written love story. Jim Burden is sent to live with his grandparents in Nebraska when he's ten. On the farm next to his family's is a Bohemian family. Read more
Published on March 3 2000 by Mrs. greene's class
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel
My Antonia is a novel talking about how the life change for pioneers. The point of view is from Jim Burden who taught Antonia English and grown up with her when they were met each... Read more
Published on July 22 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written with one problem...
All who have read this book: I have enjoyed this book immensely, however, there is one thing that plagues me about it. Read more
Published on June 4 1999 by Heather Esch (
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflects many of the veiws and thoughts of the time period.
My Antonia stands as a monument in Literature. It is well written and contains many unanswered questions and foils. Read more
Published on May 15 1999
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