Friday, 18 June 2010

Willa Cather - Death Comes For The Archbishop

Tomorrow, Cornflower Books discusses Willa Cather's Death Comes For The Archbishop, a historical novel set in New Mexico which Cather published in 1927, four years after winning a Pulitzer for One Of Ours. It's a favourite book and having first read it fourteen years ago, I was prompted to read it again, and perhaps contribute to the discussion. Time has run away with me, and I'm still on page 160 of 237 - so I'm off to try to finish it tonight..
I won't say any more about the novel (will probably put up a link to the discussion thread tomorrow), but a quick biographical sketch of the fascinating Ms Cather: she was born in Black Creek Valley, Virginia in 1873; went to university in Nebraska; became a journalist in her twenties (telling in terms of her prose style); wrote (I think) a dozen novels; spent her last years in a cottage in Whale Cove, New Brunswick, and died of a stroke in New York in 1947. Intensely private, her closest relationships were with women, though her sexuality is hotly debated, and among her many literary admirers were Sinclair Lewis and H L Mencken (anyone good enough for Mencken, a personal hero of my own personal hero Alistair Cooke, is good enough for me).
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