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The Song of the Lark (Great Plains Trilogy #2)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,432 Ratings  ·  585 Reviews
The daughter of a Swedish minister growing up in Colorado, Thea Kronborg's adolescent ability on the piano is encouraged by her eccentric German music teacher, Professor Wuncsch, and by the kindly but unhappily married Dr. Howard Archie. Set apart from the townspeople by her talents, Thea's friends are far from conventional. At 17 she leaves them and her mother's influence ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published July 20th 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1915)
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Victoria It's free on Amazon Kindle - you can check it out there. ;)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dolors
Feb 13, 2016 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of art in all forms
Shelves: read-in-2015
Even though The Song of the Lark is the second installment in “The Prairie Trilogy”, I consider Thea, its strong minded protagonist, the culminating embodiment of the rest of Cather’s feisty heroines, the point where they end up converging to glow in full radiance.

(view spoiler)
...more
Cheryl
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
...more
Candi
Jan 07, 2016 Candi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-shelf
4.5 stars

"She used to drag her mattress beside her low window and lie awake for a long while, vibrating with excitement, as a machine vibrates from speed. Life rushed in upon her through that window - or so it seemed. In reality, of course, life rushes from within, not from without. There is no work of art so big or so beautiful that it was not once all contained in some youthful body, like this one which lay on the floor in the moonlight, pulsing with ardour and anticipation."

With exquisite pro
...more
Teresa
Jun 15, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sue
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
...more
Ensiform
Oct 08, 2010 Ensiform rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Clif Hostetler
Apr 29, 2014 Clif Hostetler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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
...more
Moonlight Reader


Richly imagined, Cather’s third novel is an exploration of the passion of the artist and the strength of youth. Her main character, Thea Kronborg, child of immigrants from Moonstone, Colorado, has all of the brazen energy and boundless potential of her prairie town. She is the exceptional child in a family of many children, the others quite ordinary, a girl so relentlessly herself that the triumphant arc of her life has a feeling of inevitability, in spite of the many obstacles that she must ov
...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
...more
Maria
Jul 22, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Summer
Jan 15, 2008 Summer rated it it was amazing  ·  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."
Eve
Aug 02, 2008 Eve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bruce
Jun 20, 2015 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Ann ☕
Technically, I did not finish this and I am not sure that I will ever care to read The Song of the Lark in its entirety. I did complete about 42% of the book, and realized the story wasn't really improving on any level. Although some passages were lovely and poetic, I found much of the story to be tedious and really did not care for the main character, Thea. Willa Cather also did not really make a point of showing the reader why we should care, or for that matter why any of the other characters ...more
Laysee
Feb 21, 2016 Laysee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Winston Ong

“Nothing is far and nothing is near, if one desires. The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing - desire. And before it, when it is big, all is little." – Willa Cather

“The Song of the Lark” by Willa Cather is a novel after my own heart. When I stumbled on Dolors' beautifully crafted review of this book by an author I have never read, I felt that knowing tug that signaled pleasure and promise. I was right but I had not expected to feel a familiar con
...more
Heidi
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.
Mackay
Dec 30, 2008 Mackay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Melanie
Mar 31, 2009 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Abigail
Mar 04, 2008 Abigail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
El
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.
Sharon
Jul 19, 2014 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
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
Mimi
Aug 27, 2012 Mimi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
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
...more
Larry Piper
Mar 15, 2016 Larry Piper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
...more
Heleen
Jan 25, 2012 Heleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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't.do.it.

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
...more
ShaLisa
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
Devyn Duffy
Jul 29, 2013 Devyn Duffy rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Anne
Aug 07, 2007 Anne rated it liked it  ·  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,
...more
Jessica
Apr 28, 2016 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Wasn't really into it, but some of that might be because some of the readers were not the best. There is a little more racism and sexism in this one too. Also, Archie and Ray are kind of creepy. I realize people were allowed to talk about children like that in 1915, but it's still creepy. It kind of felt like Wuthering Heights, in that I didn't care about any of the characters, but without the drama. Some of the prose was beautiful, but I don't know. Maybe one day I'll re-read it in text rather ...more
Carol Douglas
May 26, 2016 Carol Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Willa Cather tells the story of Thea, a young girl with great musical talent. Thea lives in Moonstone, a small town in Colorado not unlike Red Cloud, Nebraska, where Cather grew up.
Thea is limited by lack of financial resources, and even more by her family's lack of comprehension of her talent. Her sister is particularly annoyed by Thea's need to be musical. That character probably is based on Willa's very unsympathetic sisters.
But Thea gets help from men in her town who care
...more
Cherie
Sep 29, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio

Bravo!
Bravo Thea!
Bravo Willa Cather!
Bravo Moonstone, Colorado!
Bravo Christine Williams - narrator/Blackstone Audio
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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

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“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” 1646 likes
“The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.” 1463 likes
More quotes…