Book Review: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

O PIONEERS! by Willa Cather 

Dover Thrift Edition

pp 122

O Pioneers!, the first book in Willa Cather’s Great Plains Trilogy, unfolds along the crags and ridges of  rough terrain that is harsh to all those who dwell here. Set in the still uncultivated Nebraska Prairie, the story is told through the lens of young Swedish-American woman Alexandra Bergson who has an uncanny head for business and an even stronger knack for spotting fertile land. The evolution of her life and all of those around her gives birth to the story’s chief leitmotif: “The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or woman.”  And Alexandra Bergson is precisely the heart that never grows too weary to turn her back on her land. Even in the wake of great human tragedy (loneliness, grief, fatal illness, vicious rivalries, violence and death), the land reaps generous bounty for everyone whose hands touch the soil. Love too, in all forms and through all phases, is ever present. You will never forget the image of the wild duck flying in the air, so profoundly free and alive in this cruel place, where life and death compete to occupy the same space. In the natural cycle of four distinct seasons, every season toiled under the Nebraska sun brims with the promise of new life.


Patricia Vaccarino

Patricia Vaccarino is an accomplished writer who has written award-winning film scripts, press materials, articles, essays, speeches, web content, marketing collateral, and ten books.

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