Monday, April 22, 2013

For the Love of Nebraska

Having read Willa Cather's Prairie Trilogy, I have become very intrigued with the setting of her novels - rural Nebraska.  Therefore, I was excited to learn about Pamela Carter Joern who also focuses on the Nebraska landscape as a backdrop for some of her work.  In fact, her novel The Floor of the Sky takes its title from a Willa Cather quotation.  The Floor of the Sky, set in modern day in the remote Sandhills region of Nebraska, focuses on the story of Toby, an older widow, and her pregnant granddaughter, 16-year old Lila.  The novel weaves together stories of Toby's past and Lila's new life in the small town and on her grandmother's ranch.  With a range of characters, including Toby's embittered sister Gertie, the quiet but loyal ranch hand George, and Lila's cousin Clay who is going in a bad direction, there are interesting perspectives and meta-stories within the novel.  However, for me the setting is not as prominent as it is in Cather's works, and in fact seems like it could be a small rural town anywhere in the U.S.  The writing style reminds me more of Kent Haruf than Willa Cather.  Ultimately, while I liked the focus on inter-generational relationships and the multiple perspectives, I did not feel connected to the characters and this is not one of those books that will resonate with me for very long. 

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