Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Lost Lady

Author: Willa Cather

First line: Thirty or forty years ago, in one of those grey towns along the Burlington railroad, which are so much greyer today than they were then, there was a house well known from Omaha to Denver for its hospitality and for a certain charm of atmosphere.

Why you should read this book: As a boy, Niel Herbert knows of no lady more beautiful, gracious, or admirable than Mrs. Forrester, the young wife of the august Captain Forrester; as Niel grows to manhood, he takes it upon himself to protect the vulnerable woman, whose older husband's health has begun to fail. Cather shows us a world of fading glory, of the transitory gilt-edge of the old west, of a woman shaped by her environment, both enriched and victimized by the changing tides of history. This is a deep and complex portrait of a complicated woman, true to life and full of raw understanding.

Why you shoudn't read this book: You don't believe in formality or nostalgia.

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