My Ántonia by Willa Cather
Originally published 100 years ago, My Ántonia tracks the diverging paths of protagonists Jim Burden and Ántonia Shimerda, who arrive as children—one an orphan, the other an immigrant— in Black Hawk, Nebraska, toward the end of the 19th century.
As years go by, Ántonia’s fate keeps her tied to the land while Jim’s moves him away and into other lives, with professional tasks, relationships, and concerns that fall quite far from the prairie values of his youth. On a return to Nebraska from New York, the adult Jim, now a successful lawyer, comes to see his old friend Ántonia as embodying the life-giving rural values he and, he fears, his nation, have left behind.
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