Willa Cather is a key figure in American literature. Be it O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, or The Song of the Lark, her novels have earned a favored place on the bookshelves of many readers, and her short stories — which include “A Wagner Matinee”, “The Sculptor’s Funeral”, and “Paul’s Case” — are often anthologized. In 1922, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel One of Ours.
I’ve personally been especially interested in her tales of Czech immigrants on the plains, works such as “Peter,” My Ántonia, or Neighbor Rosicky. Those characters remind me of my Czech roots, even though my forebears settled in Chicago, not Nebraska. And in my Vera Van Slyke chronicles, there’s a recurring character named Eric “Rick” Bergson, who moves to Chicago from Nebraska and who seems to have stepped straight out of Cather’s novel about Swedish newcomers on the plains, O Pioneers!
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