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My Antonia [Paperback]

Kathleen Norris , Willa Cather
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
RRP: 4.69
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); New edition edition (1 Nov 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039575514X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395755143
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The reminiscences of a New York lawyer, Jim Burden, about his boyhood in Nebraska, particularly a young Bohemian girl named Antonia Shimerda, are set against the backdrop of the American assimilation of immigrants.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Willa Cather's novel is the most beautiful story of the lives of plain people that I have ever read.
Her strength as a novelist lies in her ability to weave a wonderful story around the lives of ordinary characters; ordinary in the sense that everything they feel, every word that they speak, and all that they do, is perfectly understandable to the reader.
Every time I read My Antonia, I wish I could find, like young Jim Burden does, a warm yellow pumpkin to lean my back against, and feel the sun warm my face as I watched the wind push the prarie grass in rolling waves of shimmering green. I am sure that in doing so I would find real happiness.
Cather is an artist, and the full, rich landscape of the frontier prarie is her canvas. On it she creates beautiful images of sunsets and prarie flowers; disturbing pictures of suicide and infidelity; brushstrokes of true friendship and true hardship and determination and strength.
The reunion of Jim and Antonia is beautifully unforgettable, and tells the whole story: when Jim's success as a big city attorney is squared against the humility of Antonia's existence - her fruit cave and orchard trees and grape arbour, and her wriggling, giggling flock of children, it fades down and disappears like a setting sun.
In finishing the story with this visit, Cather preserves the magic of the land, the strength of those who tamed it, and the unbreakable bond between the two.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Slightly sweet, but never sappy. A real charmer to read by a roaring fire w/ a mug of cocoa. Savor Jim Burden's memories of his childhood, his enduring friendship w/ the spirited Antonia & how they all turned out in the end. It's a shame they don't write books w/ such honesty & emotion like this nowadays. My copy is tattered & much beloved. Highly recommended to everyone who loves life & fiction.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As a high school English teacher, I have used My Antonia as a book for my sophomores to read for six years in a row. It is personally one of my very favorite books. I love the book, and teach the book, for three major reasons: the way it treats the landscape; the episodic structure; and the early feminist tendencies of Antonia herself.
The trees being visited like they are people. The undulating fields of prairie grass taller than the head of a man. The huts carved out of the sides of the hills, with walls made of the turf itself. The footpaths becoming roads as the population increases. The mystery of the multitude of stars in the Heavens at night. The essential nature of mother earth, and the connection of man and woman to the earth, cannot be ignored here, even by jaded modern teenagers.
Instead of a plot to "drive" the novel, many episodes combine to let the reader form a complete picture in his or her own mind. The spaces in between the episodes allow for some imagination and conjecture on the part of the reader. In the end, the story of two lives--one woman and one man--feels vivid and complete, though some may find it bittersweet. We know much of where Jim and Antonia end up their lives as adults, and there is a sense of completeness, despite having no plot present to guide the reader.
And Antonia herself. If ever there was a strong personage, for my money it is Antonia. In another later era, she would have been Rosie the Riveter, or in an earlier one, Knut Hamsun's Inger. Antonia is supportive of her family, even as she moves off the prairie into town to live at the Harlings. When Mr.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a unique novel worth reading. 25 Jan 1999
By A Customer
My Antonia by Willa Cather is set in the farmlands of Nebraska during the late 1800's. The main characters are a young inexperienced boy named Jim and a strong willed girl named Antonia. I thought the book was unique and worth reading.
It was like a fresh breath of air from reading other stuffy books. The first reason I liked it was because the setting was clear. I never knew what Nebraska looked like until I read the book! I felt like I was standing on the long, red, grassy farmlands. The author described the setting so that the reader could get a better feeling for the story. Another reason was the characters were described very well. The main characters, Jim and Antonia were described to make you feel that they were like real people. Jim snuck out of his house to go to the Fireman's dances every Friday night, when his Grandparents forbid him to go. Antonia had a child with her fiancé who ran away from her before they were married. The last reason was the theme was fantastic. The theme was Jim's admiration for Antonia. Even when Antonia had a bunch of kids and was older, he still admired her inner strength, intelligence, and beauty.
My Antonia is a different kind of a romantic novel. It wasn't gushy, otherwise I wouldn't have read it at all! The novel was exciting and a really good page-turner. My Antonia is a novel you would want to read sometime during your lifetime.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book 8 July 1999
By A Customer
This is a superb book about growing up, about the Americans plains, about longing for a voice from the past even while it is changing before your eyes. If you like contemporary action, the big city, mystery, sex, violence, etc, forget this book. But if you have a feeling for the land and its immigrants, or a glimmer of understanding of people stuggling and yet living full lives, this is a book definitely worth considering.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars just lovely
Really lovely - I can't imagine why I've left it so long to read this novel (especially as I think I was supposed to read it at uni! Or maybe because of that...). Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2009 by trendytracey
1.0 out of 5 stars My Antonia- I would have rather have a paper cut...
I began this book completely open-minded. The beginning was slow, but I continued thinking, "Hey it might pick up." It didn't. I loathed this book. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow in the beginning, but got more interesting in the end
We had to read this book for school, so the beginning seemed to drag on forever. But don't worry.. it got better towards the end. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars This was a good book, but it had no plot!
Sorry, but I don't think this book deserves it's place as an "American classic." It is good, but not fabulous. Read more
Published on 31 July 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars An emotional book worth reading.
My Antonia is a very emotional book that'll make you feel what the narrator (Jim Burden) feels as he reaccounts his past experiences with a beautiful strong girl that he grew up... Read more
Published on 29 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars shimmering, evocative, poignant
You can almost feel the shimmering heat of the plains while reading this classic. Antonia Shimerda & Jim Burden & the "hired girls" are some of the most... Read more
Published on 26 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life of Pioneers
My Antonia is a novel talking about how the life changed for pioneers. The point of view is from Jim Burden who taught Antonia English and grown up with her when they were met... Read more
Published on 21 July 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars For those who can appreciate it
My Antonia is proof that a novel does not have to be conventionally plotted and have a traditional happy ending to be meaningful and enjoyable. Read more
Published on 6 July 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars heart-warming story about life on the prairie
Almost no plot, but a wonderful, enchanting read nevertheless. Loved everyone in this novel. Jake and Otto and Lena and Jim were all so real to me. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but not worth the time.
I had to read this book for my English class in my senior year. I can't belive i read the whole thing. Its a very slow, almost love story, with almost no plot at all. Read more
Published on 18 Jun 1999
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