Sunday, April 7, 2013
One of Ours, published in 1922, is Willa Cather's classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that explores the life of a young man who grows up on a farm in Nebraska and eventually becomes a soldier in World War I. Claude Wheeler hopes to someday leave the farm, but his father's plans for him conflict with this, resulting in him staying in Nebraska and marrying a woman he has known since his childhood. While friends of his are content with their farming lives, Claude is "unable to conceal his discontent" and is unable to "subdue his own nature," despite "resisting unalterable conditions." Claude lives with "the conviction that there was something splendid about life, if he could but find it!" He sets off to Europe with high hopes of finding a sense of purpose and seeing more of the world, but quickly must face the harsh reality of the violent life on the frontier. I love Willa Cather's writing and I was very engaged with the first two-thirds of the book, but I did not enjoy the final part of the novel which focuses on Claude's life at war. This was not my favorite Cather novel, but I still want to read all of her other novels, because she has such an engaging writing style.