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Obscure Destinies

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  156 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
The jacket of the first edition of Obscure Destinies announced “Three New Stories of the West,” heralding Willa Cather’s return to what many thought of as “her” territory—the Great Plains. These three stories, “Neighbour Rosicky,” “Old Mrs. Harris,” and “Two Friends,” reflected her return to the well of memory that had inspired the books that made her reputation.The WillaC ...more
Hardcover, 460 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by University of Nebraska Press (first published 1932)
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154th out of 302 books — 29 voters
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28th out of 100 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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This group contains three rather long short stories that are vintage Willa Cather. They are set in the Great American Plains which produced, I think, some of her best stories. Similar themes thread through this group and of course they offer us the pleasure of reading one of the best American writers of the 20th century.
Scribble Orca
This is a use case scenario test to see if an apparently infamous pop up screen exhorting purchase in a Jungle Environment occurs. (The title should explain the choice of book for this experiment). Thus far nothing unToward a River has occurred. Comments will contain further results after the initial saving.
Sep 07, 2010 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
“They were comfortable, they were out of debt, but they didn’t get much ahead. Maybe, Doctor Burleigh reflected, people as generous and warm-hearted and affectionate as they Rosickys never got ahead much; maybe you couldn’t enjoy your life and put it into the bank, too” (15).
“It was still early when the old farmer put aside his sewing and his recollections” (44).
“What Rosicky really hoped for his boys was that they could get through the world without ever knowing much about the cruelty of human
Kristina Knight
Aug 16, 2014 Kristina Knight rated it it was amazing
I always learn something new when I read her stories. I never really thought much about the different types/ethnicities of the people living in the new American west. how they related to one another in the daily lives fascinated me. My favorite quote, " All countries were beautiful to Mr. Rosen. He carried a country of his own in his mind, and was able to unfold it like a tent in any wilderness." She transports me!
Fred Ann
After having reAD My antonia I was eager to read more stories based in the Nebraska Praorie. these three stories held and stroked my imagination , further in such a wonderfull pioneering setting.
Amy Heap
Aug 31, 2014 Amy Heap rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars for this collection of three novellas, my first Willa Cather stories. They are each quiet, sad, joyful, wistfully nostalgic stories of rural America, long ago. Cather's understanding of people's hearts is clear, gentle and hopeful.
Georgie Hacon
Aug 18, 2014 Georgie Hacon rated it really liked it
Nostalgic, cleverly written book, where the words capture the imagination more so than the actual stories. In two words; simply beautiful.
Jul 20, 2009 Katy rated it it was amazing
This title contains three short stories by Cather. Each story tells the destiny of an "obscure" person, those folks whom we all know but whom we rarely pay very much attention to, their lives and death, but yet the common thread they weave in our lives.

This is the first time I've read Cather since I've been in an American Lit class in college. I'd forgotten about her concise writing style and voice. These are stories I'd recommend for everyone. (If I taught high school literature, I would requir
Ashley Lane
Feb 20, 2014 Ashley Lane rated it it was amazing
Willa Cather always writes something worth reading. I am so intrigued by her ability to made daily lives seem so interesting. I am always riveted by her characters.
Jan 29, 2013 Carla rated it it was amazing
Willa Cather is one of my favorite authors, and certainly my favorite American writer. These novellas rank among her greatest writing-- and in particular, Old Mrs. Harris, is haunting as only Cather knows how to haunt. I cried when I read it for the first time, and I still cry when I read it again.
Sep 06, 2009 Janelle rated it really liked it
I have to remind myself that she wrote these stories nearly 80 years ago. These were simpler times and yet the core of the stories are timeless. I felt for the characters and how their lives turned out based on society's expectations or a simple decision about which path to take.
Mar 03, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Willa Cather...there is nothing more to say. Her stories are profound, immense, dark, beautiful, capturing every nuance of the human spirit with such amazing language. This collection is absolutely no exception.
Aug 01, 2007 Jami rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone.
As always, Cather's profiles of people and their places, the enduring and ephemeral relationships between them, are never sentimental, always emotional, and generally astounding.
Dec 09, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: stories, cather, 2009
A man who loves too much? Two robber barons? An old frontierswoman? Shrug.
Joshua Oakley
Elizabeth Ann Cooper Collection
Patricia Boyle
Jan 25, 2013 Patricia Boyle rated it it was amazing
Love Willa Cather stories.
May 29, 2009 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
Love Willa Cather!
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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
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