"And now the old story has begun to write itself over there," said Carl softly. "Isn't it queer: there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes for thousands of years."
-Willa Cather, O Pioneers!*
With O PioS!, the first novel of The Great Plains Trilogy, Willa Cather proved her fierce and humble talent. A tale of the Nebraskan prairie land as encountered by Swedish, Czech, French, and Bohemian immigrants, Cather's novel is an epic that traces a family of stubborn American pioneers as they wrestle with, and--in some cases--are defeated by, the plains.
Swedish immigrant Alexandra Bergson inherits her father's farm and must morph it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise. Bergson is the first of Cather's great heroines, but the land, or, as Cather calls it, the "wild land," is also an immensely important character. In O Pioneers! descriptions of the land are so evocative, lush, and moving that they provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: "The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us."
*Our Wiseblood Classic edition of Cather's O Pioneers!
can be purchased here for only $7.00.