Willa Cather was an American writer known for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, including 'O Pioneers!', 'The Song of the Lark', and 'My Ántonia'. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her novel 'One of Ours'. Her work is celebrated for its vivid portrayal of the landscapes and people of the American Midwest and is considered an important part of early 20th-century American literature.
This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.
1. My Antonia
This novel follows the life of Antonia Shimerda, a Bohemian immigrant to the United States, through the eyes of her childhood friend, Jim Burden. The narrative explores their lives in the harsh environment of the American Midwest, their struggles with poverty, cultural adaptation, and personal growth. Antonia's resilience, strength, and love for life inspire Jim, who moves away for education and career but remains emotionally tied to the woman and the prairie life he left behind. The book is a compelling portrayal of pioneer life, human resilience, and the enduring power of friendship.
This novel follows the life of a Catholic bishop and a vicar as they attempt to establish a diocese in New Mexico Territory. The story highlights their struggles and triumphs over the course of 40 years, dealing with the harsh landscape, cultural differences, and the challenges of faith. It also explores the history and culture of the Southwest, including the influence of Mexican and Native American traditions.
"The Professor's House" is a narrative revolving around a middle-aged professor who is struggling with a mid-life crisis. As he moves into a new home, he can't help but feel disconnected from his family and former life. His only solace is his unfinished study in his old house, where he spends most of his time. The book also explores his relationship with his former student, Tom Outland, whose story of discovering an ancient Native American settlement in the Southwest impacts the professor deeply. The novel explores themes of change, nostalgia, and the search for meaning in life.
4. A Lost Lady
"A Lost Lady" is a story set in the American West, focusing on a beautiful and captivating woman who is married to a much older, wealthy railroad magnate. As her husband's health and fortune decline, she becomes involved with a younger man, which leads to scandal. The narrative explores themes of changing societal norms, the decline of the pioneer era, and the transformation of the American West.
Set in the late 17th century, the novel explores the lives of French colonists in Quebec City. It focuses on the daily experiences of a French apothecary and his young daughter, illuminating their struggles and joys as they navigate the harsh realities of frontier life. The narrative delves into themes of faith, identity, and the human spirit's resilience, offering an intimate portrait of early colonial life in North America.
6. O Pioneers!
"O Pioneers!" is a novel about a Swedish-American immigrant family's struggles and successes in the great plains during the late 19th century. The story centers on the family's eldest daughter, who inherits the family farm and devotes her life to making it thrive despite the hardships of weather, personal loss, and societal expectations. The novel explores themes of love, gender, land ownership, and the harsh realities of frontier life.
7. One of Ours
The novel follows the life of Claude Wheeler, a young Nebraska native who is dissatisfied with his prosperous farming life. When the United States enters World War I, he sees it as an opportunity to find purpose and meaning, and enlists in the army. The book explores his experiences and struggles in the war, his longing for home, and his ultimate sacrifice, providing a poignant commentary on the impact of war on the individual and society.