As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country as the water is the sea. The red of the grass made all the great prairie the colour of wine-stains, or of certain seaweeds when they are first washed up. And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow, to be running.
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Re-reading Marilynne Robinson's Gilead this week made me want to go back to Willa Cather's My Antonia. My Antonia is a stunning novel based on Cather's childhood memories of Red Cloud, Nebraska. Jim Burden is sent to live with his grandparents on their farm in Nebraska, a place where the long waving grass resembles the sea and trees are a rare and unfamiliar sight on the flat landscape. One of his childhood friends is Antonia Shimerda the young daughter of poverty-stricken Bohemian immigrants. Although Jim eventually moves to New York he never forgets his childhood friend and one day he goes back to look for her. Here's an extract: