O Pioneers! is the story of the Nebraska prairie at the turn of the century. It follows Alexandra Bergson from a young lady, whose father leaves the failing family farm in her hands, to a successful, mature business woman. Along the way, the author describes the people who settled and tamed the land. The story is uplifting and tragic at the same time. Cather writes some strong, yet flawed, female characters. I felt if I really knew the characters, even those with smaller rolls in the novel. I definitely recommend the book to anyone with an interest in American history and westward expansion.
Whenever I read Willa Cather's quiet, majestic prose, I can see the exact color of the light on the Nebraska prairie, and almost smell and hear the land she wrote about so beautifully. This story is simple and slow-moving, as deep and matter-of-fact as its characters, and as enduring as the land they loved.
Willa Cather is actually a pioneer. One of the first highly acclaimed female authors of our time, her words are jewels and reading her work is a slow, sweet pleasure. This is a book I cannot give up, so it lives in my "secret stash" and will be re-read from time to time. If you have never read this, you MUST.
Willa Cather is a Great American Author and does and exceptional job in bringing the hard times of settling the Nebraska Prairie to life through her strong, independent lead character, Alexandra. I enjoyed this book immensely.
Lynne M. (teaqueen) reviewed O Pioneers! (Barnes Noble Classics Series) (BN Classics Mass Market) on
Willa Cather is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. I had never read her before this year when I read My Antonia. Anxious to continue with her Prairie trilogy I read O Pioneers. Memorable book full of diverse characters, each with a story to tell, The protagonist, Alexandra, is what the story turns on and she is amazing!
The land belongs to the future... that's the way it seems to me....I might as well try to will the sunset over there to my brother's children. We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it -- for a little while."
O Pioneers! (1913) was Willa Cather's first great novel, and to many it remains her unchallenged masterpiece. No other work of fiction so faithfully conveys both the sharp physical realities and the mythic sweep of the transformation of the American frontier -- and the transformation of the people who settled it. Cather's heroine is Alexandra Bergson, who arrives on the wind-blasted prairie of Hanover, Nebraska, as a girl and grows up to make it a prosperous farm. But this archetypal success story is darkened by loss, and Alexandra's devotion to the land may come at the cost of love itself.
At once a sophisticated pastoral and a prototype for later feminist novels, O Pioneers! is a work in which triumph is inextricably enmeshed with tragedy, a story of people who do not claim a land so much as they submit to it and, in the process, become greater than they were.