Willa Cather is an excellent classic American pioneer author. I have read half of this book and own two copys so I will pick it up again one day. Enjoy.
The author has a wonderful sense of rural life - the people, their feelings, their hopes and dreams. In this novel she follows Claude Wheeler, a farm boy from Nebraska who wants something more than a farm life. What it is he is not sure. When he goes to college he finds friends who enjoy life so much more than his stoic family. His father is interested only in accumulating more and more land. His mother seem to have lost her sense of who she is but she loves her wayward son dearly. However, there comes a point when his father says it's time to come home and take care of the family farm while he is off helping his son, Ralph, with another land venture. Claude is unhappy but he works hard and whenever he makes a mistake he takes it to heart. When Claude is injured a longtime friend, Enid, comes to see him daily. He believes he is in love with her and asks her to marry him. Both fathers feel that this is an inappropriate match but Claude plows ahead building a house for the two of them puzzled that Enid is more interested in the house than Claude himself. When Enid's sister, who is a missionary in China becomes ill, she travels there to take care of her. By this time Claude realizes that his marriage is a failure. Meanwhile the war in Europe that he and his mother are following escalates and Claude decides to enlist. In the army he meets David Gernhardt, a musician who enlisted as well and the two become fast friends. The moral of this tale has to do with idealist views of the world and war and how it might change the world where we live. Does it really?