The Song of the Lark
Great Plans Trilogy #2
“Perhaps Willa Cather’s most autobiographical work, The Song of the Lark charts the story of a young woman’s awakening as an artist against the backdrop of the western landscape. Thea Kronborg, an aspiring singer, struggles to escape from the confines her small Colorado town to the world of possibility in the Metropolitan Opera House. In classic Cather style, The Song of the Lark is the beautiful, unforgettable story of American determination and its inextricable connection to the land.”
Prior to finding this novel through the Serial Reader app, I had never heard of this author. I don’t recall ever hearing her name in my High School American Literature course either (although that was 8 years ago). I picked this novel because it fulfilled one of the categories on my Back to the Classics reading challenge, a book with an animal in the title.
By reading this book through the Serial Reader app, it took me 54 days to complete, so this book has been with me for the past month and a half. It was a great book to read in small segments because it allowed me to digest each segment slowly. This novel is essentially a coming of age and more story about Thea Kronborg. It starts with her as a youth on her sickbed and traverses until her success as an opera singer.
It was a very interesting read that illustrated success in a woman from the late 1800s, early 1900s. Not only does the reader learn about Thea’s life, but those that interact with her. I learned a lot about various citizens of her hometown of Moonstone. From the doctor who helped her in her youth and further, to the eccentric Mexican Friend who introduced her to lively music.
An aspect of this book I found interesting, which also parralles with a favorite author of mine is how Cather glossed over things that now would be exaggerated, just like Jane Austen would do in her novels. For example, we are told of Thea and Fred’s marrage through another character in a different setting and time than it took place, as opposed to exaggerating the wedding itself like many contemporary novels are known to do.
Overall I recommend this novel, particularly in the Serial Reader format because then it is not as overwhelming as it would have been otherwise.
About the Author
“Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, in December 7, 1873. Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours (1922), set during World War I. She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal. Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. After graduation in 1894, she worked in Pittsburgh as writer for various publications and as a school teacher for approximately 13 years, thereafter moving to New York City for the remainder of her life. She traveled widely and often spent summers in New Brunswick, Canada. In later life, she experienced much negative criticism for her conservative politics and became reclusive, burning some of her letters and personal papers, including her last manuscript. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1943. In 1944, Cather received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an award given once a decade for an author’s total accomplishments. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 73 in New York City.”