“Classic midwestern story.”Cyndi B wrote this review Monday, June 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Wild Land : This I think is the best part of the book, here all story progression character progression and romantic descriptions of the landscape work together in creating an episode that is truly lovely to read.
Neighbouring Fields : This section I think needs a lot of editing, there was a lot of superfluous material that doesn't really contribute to the story-line.....or doesn't really contribute to the main themes of the book.....the time gap itself was quite annoying.....after having grown fond of the characters in the 1st section we are suddenly teleported into the future and see them as adults.......which of course, means they are very different people.....and we (or I) as a reader felt a significant sense of annoyance at having missing out on so many years of their life which from the sounds of it could easily have amounted to another section of the book.
Winter Memories : This section has a lovely description of winter but to be honest the story-line could well have progressed without this.
The Mulberry Tree : Is the cumulation of the romance between Emil and Marrie.....once again this section could have used a good hand of editing and perhaps a more informative ending.....but other than that it was a great read.
Through the children we see different stages of the pioneers adapting to their new land......Alexandra is much like their parents in that she retains a sense of their mother-land....she speaks the old tongue.....she allows old customs and understand and sympathizes with people like Ivar and the old grandmother..........but at the same time we must ask ourselves how well she would really do outside her small like town in the bigger cities and in a more American environment........with Oscar and Lou we see an intermediate of adaptation.....they hold on to an empty sense of cultural nationality of their old country and yet at the same time are largely influenced by what they see and experience around them......which results in a rather maladaptive combination of cultures where in they are neither Sweeds nor really American.......Emil is the youngest and having really grown up here is is truly American......he is open minded and free thinking and not hindered or held back by old cultural beliefs or ways of thinking.......thus in this 1 family we see the varies stages of how newcomers adapt themselves into a foreign land.
I think she starts of trying to tell a story about the land and the hard life of the people who inhabited it (as seen in The Wild Land) but gets diverted into a tale of love and loss that perhaps doesn't really live up to her initial goal (if it was such) of giving an account of the life lived on the prairie .....towards the end in the last chapter we see her come back to this theme of the land and trying to claim it but by then the story has already veered to much for that to really summaries everything that has happened or for the land to really mirror the characters as it did in the 1st section.
The end seems rushed.”
“This is my second Willa Cather novel, the first in a trilogy.
I must say this book was very disappointing almost from the outset.
The story is set in a small town outside of Omaha, Nebraska in the United States. A population of immigrants from Bohemia, France, Sweden and Norway live together struggling to become successful farmers. Two members of the community fall in love and plan to run away together but tragedy awaits them.
This book could have been so much more than it is. The story is not particularly engaging, the characters are two dimensional and dull. It takes a long time to get started (which is surprising for such a short book) and there are too many avenues not explored. Certain parts of the story don't even make sense.
Please take my advice, if you decide to try a Willa Cather book start with 'My Antonia' it is far superior to O Pioneers.
“Not as fully realized as 'My Antonia' but hey, Cather's always great. ”Amester wrote this review Tuesday, January 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My first Cather novel. Kept my interest. Took a turn at the end that I wasn't expecting. Good descriptions of the open land ”laura l wrote this review Sunday, December 16, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Read Willa Cather years ago in Teachers College. Wanted to reread after road trip through her sort of country. Not disappointed. This one has amazing descriptions of the colours and landforms of the south west - makes me want to go back.”Pam Wall wrote this review Monday, December 10, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Normal and Morton PL”Susan F wrote this review Thursday, December 6, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Wonderful classic”londonliz38 wrote this review Sunday, September 2, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“With three of Willa Cather’s works now under my belt, I suppose I cannot expect them all to be equally magnificent and must declare that O Pioneers was not the creme de la creme it is purported to be. Perhaps it is my love of the southwest that left me enthralled with Death Comes for the Archbishop and a little disappointed with this read.
So we have the Bergson family, with origins in Sweden, now farming the unpredictable terrains of Nebraska. The eldest of four children, and the only daughter, is entrusted with safeguarding the family’s land when the father becomes seriously ill and dies soon after. The family evolves and faces successes and tragedies as pioneers struggling to make their mark.
The woman in charge, Alexandra Bergson, is very stoic and lives only for her land and her family. She is not afraid of learning nor of trying new ways to cultivate her land and her determination proves well worthwhile. While denying herself any pleasure, she does not hesitate to lavish her youngest brother with clothing and a college education, perhaps giving her at least some vicarious pleasures. She seemed to gravitate to the non-conformists and would not stand for seeing them treated poorly. What nagged at me was her “blame the victim” mentality when she confronts the man responsible for a family tragedy.
Little brother Emil enjoys his privileges, while deeply resented by his older brothers. He is carefree and is well liked by most of the townspeople (a little too much by one). He becomes the rare college graduate, travels and eventually returns to those who still care for him and now admire him as well. His free spiritedness is quashed when he finally gives in to the temptation that has been haunting him for years.
Neighbor and great friend to Alexandra, Carl Linstrum is a man unsure of his past, present and future. He is greatly attracted to his neighbor, yet they never seem to find the opportune time to move beyond friendship and he moves away for an apprenticeship opportunity when his family’s farm fails. He remains a loyal writer and keeps Alexandra up to date on his life. He finally returns only to be bullied away by the elder Bergson brothers. A little more backbone would have made this sensitive man a bit more likable.
My personal favorite, Crazy Ivar, is the town pariah. He lives alone near a lake and roams barefoot, eating no meat, quoting the bible and having seizures on occasion. He is sought out for his innate ability to treat a variety of animal ailments which has been the ability that has kept him from being sent to an asylum. This was the character I would have liked to read more of and seemed to me, to be the wisest on the prairie.
Perhaps Ms. Cather could take me out to the plains where we could discuss her educational evolution from medicine to writing. Her interesting life would lend itself to a variety of topics, but I’d still attempt to get her to share her keen insight into a multitude of psyches allowing for great writing.
My rating for O Pioneers is an 8 out of 10.”