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The Song Of The Lark
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The Song Of The Lark (Great Plains Trilogy #2)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,710 ratings  ·  512 reviews
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 th ...more
Published (first published 1915)
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Most mornings I wake to the songs of larks, so when Christmas Eve found us stuck inside of our home because of flooding (my front and back yards were pines in ponds), I chose to hear The Song of the Lark in words. This is my third Cather book this year and after having been introduced to her works intimately, I can now safely say that curling up with a Cather book will always be a good choice.

However, this book is not about the song of birds. It is a book that celebrates finding one's muse; in f
At some point in this novel, I imagined a subtitle for it: "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman," especially as I'm convinced (without any facts to back it up) that it contains many autobiographical elements. I imagined that Thea's being different from the rest of her family, and from the others in the area she grew up in and loved, to be similar to Cather's experience as a burgeoning writer, also feeling the creative urge when she was a young child in her heart, was it, or under her cheek ...more
We first meet Thea Kronborg through Dr Archie, the young doctor of Moonstone, Colorado. He would become the first of many to have hopes for Thea, Thea the outsider, who just didn't fit somehow in this small town or in the family of a pastor. Sometimes she didn't feel she fit in her own body.

The story of The Song of the Lark is Thea's growth from child to teen to young adult to adult and we, the readers, share in the saga along with those who are her champions. Cather provides such a beautiful, i
Clif Hostetler
This novel is set in the late 19th to early 20th century and tells the story of a girl named Thea Kronborg from a rural town in eastern Colorado who has musical talent that attracts the attention of a series of mentors and sponsors. Through their help and support she's able to advance in the world of Wagnerian opera to become a world renowned diva.

Willa Cather's skilled writing portrays Thea's inner ambitious aspirations as she leaves small town life behind and becomes exposed to the cosmopolit
Thea Kronborg, daughter of a minister in a small Colorado town, is discovered by the music teacher, a drunken German fellow, to have a rare gift. Sponsored by Archie, the town doctor and family friend, and Ray, a railroad man who intends to marry her but is killed, she travels to Chicago, then New Mexico, meeting more and more cosmopolitan people, until, at last, she is a star of the opera stage, and like a star radiant and very distant.

I found this book, at 420+ pages, quite a chore to get thro
Jan 15, 2008 Summer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with big dreams living in small towns, or any constricting environment
This is a gorgeous book, one of my all-time favorites. I've read it twice and taken from it numerous inspiring quotes that guide my life. "But if you decide what it is you want most, you can get it. Not everybody can, but you can. Only, if you want a big dream, you've got to have nerve enough to cut out all that's easy, everything that's to be had cheap."
This isn't Willa Cather's best known work, but it's the one that most speaks to me, possibly because it's her most autobiographical novel and her life was so darned interesting. SOTL could be subtitled A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman. Thea almost reluctantly comes out as an artist, gradually admitting to her artistic vocation. SOTL also shows how important German culture was in America at the turn of the century. Cather doesn't bother translating the numerous German passages, as if ass ...more
Jennifer Hughes
My Antonia is one of my favorite books, so I thought I'd revisit Willa Cather since it's been a long time. While I found myself savoring little morsels of prose here and there, overall this novel was too long, and frankly, I just didn't care that much about the main character. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if 200 pages had been edited out so that the story was tighter and there weren't so many descriptive passages that really weren't relevant in the long run.

Of course, in those ver
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Willa Cather is wonderful at evoking the feeling of the Plains. I can feel the heat of the summer in my face and the cold of the winter on my back when I read her writings. This particular book beautifully captures the struggles of an artist growing up in a society that doesn't understand her talents. I recommend it to all young artists. You won't feel alone anymore.
This was the first Cather I read, and I adored it. Maybe the adult me wouldn't, but the child me did. Maybe it didn't hurt that my mother listened to the Met on the radio every Saturday (though not Wagner, not then...distinctly out of favor)- but I believed every word of this book of a Nebraska girl who grows up to be a famous Wagnerian soprano.
Why did I select this book? I'd never read Cather, and I knew that the plot included opera. Well, now I have, and it does.

The plot - the trajectory of a young girl's life from small-town Colorado to international acclaim as a Wagnerian diva - is almost incidental. The huge Colorado landscape will, one knows, transmute itself into the vistas of Valhalla. The landscape itself will be as much a character as any human being, and will be given a voice more eloquent and true than any human.

In fact, ev
This book is an excellent explanation of what Art is and why it means so much to artists. It also portrays the hardships involved in reaching your full potential. I'm not sure how much of it I agree with, but there was excellent symbolism that illustrated a point without sounding forced or contrived. Cather's descriptions make Thea's world and experiences seem real. This book leaves vivid impressions. It didn't have a happy, gentle plot, but was uplifting in that it describes something worth liv ...more
Artists are sometimes wonderfully selfish individuals. What is one willing to give up? Friends, love, family? Fame comes at a high cost. I don't know if Cather intended for the reader to LOVE Thea...but I didn't. I came to LOVE the dear friends that helped her get to where she was.
I yet again managed to lose my entire effing review before I could post it. Sometimes I really hate you, GR.

I'm sure someday I will not rewrite the stupid review. In the meantime I'm going to pretend like I'm punching GR in the face.
This book is so rich I don't know where to begin. From the wonderful landscapes she so intimately describes -- places I had never heard of, Panther Canyon which in real life is Walnut Canyon in Arizona, the sand hills of eastern Colorado -- to the small town railroad culture of late 1800's Colorado, to the dear players in Thea Kronberg's life, to her inner life so deeply fulfilled by these influences -- this is a story of the development of an artist from childhood. It also feels like a series o ...more
This book . . . well, it's the third Cather novel I have read, and I think I like it the least. That said, you can see I still gave it three stars, because just because I like it the least, does not mean that it is not a good novel and well written.

The book follows the life of Thea Kronborg, a Swedish-American who grows up in a small town in Colorado and ends up studying voice in Germany and becoming a famous opera star.

My main complaint is that the beginning of the book was much better than th
Larry Piper
I've now read six Cather books, and I probably liked this the least. It seemed to meander too much and had too many unnecessary details. I gather Cather edited down the book for later publication, but that edition would still be under copyright, and I'm kindle-bound.

The book started out quite well, making me feel like it might rank up there with O Pioneers! or My Antonia as most awesome books by Cather. The early parts deal with the life of an independent girl in a small town in southeast Colora
This is a hard book to review. I felt like there were two parts - the first half and the second half and that each part suggested different ideas and themes. The first half, which I liked so much more, was about a curious and intelligent girl growing up honest and interested. She had flare and she seemed to care a great deal about people, the real person and not their circumstance. She was talented, yes, very much so, but she worked hard practicing four hours a day and she cared about her influe ...more
Aug 07, 2007 Anne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: singers, especially
I made the mistake of starting this book just as I was entering a week of intense rehearsal and music-learning. So maybe I didn't focus on it as much as I might have if I had had nothing else to do.

I enjoyed this book, but I had hoped there would be more about actual singing (I'm a vocal performance major and aspiring opera singer myself). Cather does have some amazing insights into the production of the voice, but the book is less about singing than about one particular singer, Thea Kronborg,

Bravo Thea!
Bravo Willa Cather!
Bravo Moonstone, Colorado!
Bravo Christine Williams - narrator/Blackstone Audio
Well, I know I'll be called a heretic for giving Willa Cather two stars, but I can't help it. I almost gave this book one star but just.couldn'

The book started off in fantastic Cather style which included some strong, likeable, flawed characters and a shining protagonist intertwined with beautiful imagery and phrases. Unfortunately these qualities expired by the latter half of the book, where I found myself just willing it all to end. Thea became self absorbed and boring, the male charac
I was surprised when I read it that people hadn't told me about Willa Cather.

Why hadn't I heard of her in my excellent liberal arts training in high school? Why weren't people discussing her on public radio? Why were there no small art films, starring Helena Bonham Carter, based on her stories?

Song of the Lark is beautiful.

I tabbed the pages often, so I could remember, go back to, a turn of phrase, a way of seeing things that was true, clear, clean.

Her storytelling is vivid yet laconic, it's
Devyn Duffy
Jul 29, 2013 Devyn Duffy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in art
"Einst, O Wunder!"

It's hard to say what's good about this book without spoiling it. It's a story of sacrifices that a person makes to achieve artistic goals, it's a story of a girl pursuing a goal that isn't a man, it's a story of men being moved to inappropriate feelings due to surface appearances, it's a story of people tormented by unrealized dreams, and it's a rare novel in which a major character really changes--and not always for the better. Although the latter part of the story is not as
John Freeman
Binge drinking and codependency in Willa Cather's Song of the Lark


First let me say that if I didn't have a Kindle, I would have never read Willa Cather. It was a free ebook, so I downloaded it. Glad I did. Song of the Lark was written in 1915. It should be no surprise that drink was a problem back then, just as it is now to many of us. The snippet below caught my eye for the reason that alcoholism or co-dependency i
Diane Reed
Is this Willa Cather's very best work? In a word, no, but I'm obsessed with her gorgeous novels and prose, even though I didn't feel this particular book contained the same level of character development with Thea as it did with Antonia in Cather's beautiful classic My Antonia. During Thea's journey to become a true artist, at times I feel the character fell into a "type" more than a person, which is odd considering Willa Cather's own struggles to become an artist during the nineteenth century a ...more
Having promised myself that I would read more Willa Cather novels this year, it was pretty certain that TheSong of the Lark would be one of the novels I would finally get around to. First published in 1915 – it was Cather’s third novel and is considered to be the second novel in her Prairie Trilogy.

“The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.”

At almost 600 pages it is certainly one of Cather’s longer novels, if not the longest, and it has
Alyson Hagy
This novel gets a very, very high four stars from me. I'm a Cather fan. But there are quite a few of her novels I've never read, and this was one of them. It's unusual in structure (as many great books are) with long early sections set in rural Colorado and the occasional daring shift in point of view. But Cather is certain about her goals with this novel. She wants to write about the making of an artist--particularly, a female artist. And her portrait of Thea, while charming and dashing at time ...more
Lisa N
Cather is one of my very favorite authors, but this book was tedious to read at times.

The thing that impressed me the most from this reading was the depiction of different relationships. I admired Thea and Doctor Archie’s life-long friendship. She says to him, “There are a great many ways of caring for people. It’s not, after all, a simple state, like measles or tonsillitis.”

There is the contrast of Doctor Archie’s marriage with that of Thea’s parents. “If wiving went badly with a man—and it d
“The whole world is a stage, so act accordingly.”
Giving a review on a book without giving away the key points is hard, especially when the book was so intriguing. The Song of the Lark is the one book that out of all the books I have read has made me feel as if I were Thea. Thea Has had to go through the most in order to get to where she wanted to be in life. Yet, the struggle of life and its natural twists and turns, has put Thea in the most dramatic of places. This small town girl has the big d
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Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley, Virgina (Gore) 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 ...more
More about Willa Cather...

Other Books in the Series

Great Plains Trilogy (3 books)
  • O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1)
  • My Ántonia
My Ántonia O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1) Death Comes for the Archbishop One of Ours The Professor's House

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“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” 1601 likes
“The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.” 1446 likes
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