Death Comes for the Archbishop
In 1851 Bishop Latour and his friend Father Valliant are despatched to New Mexico to reawaken its slumbering Catholicism. Moving along the endless prairies, Latour spreads his faith the only way he knowsgently, although he must contend with the unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness. Over nearly40 years, they leave...more
More lists with this book...
Once before he had been carried out of the body thus to a place far away. He had turned a corner and come upon an old woman with a basket of yellow flowers; sprays of yellow sending out a honey-sweet perfume. Mimosa - but before he could think of the name he was overcome by a feeling of place, was dropped, cassock and all, into a garden in the south of France where he had been sent one winter in his childhood...It's rare these days in reading that I'll come across a childhood thought or fo...more
The novel addresses the lives of two French missionary priests in the American southwest. They travel, establish churches, get a little older, part, meet, part again, and talk through the nuances of their faith and expanding roles in the Catholic church among Mexicans and Native Americans with wildly different perspectives of faith but respect for good men. I like how Cather avoids what can...more
Cather teased me with the stuff that I wanted to know much more about -- the relocation and slaughter of the Navajos and th...more
It is an excellent piece of literature. Instantly, it has become one of my personal favourites meaning it would be read by me for many more times in the future. In short, I will carry it with me as long as I have the ability and sanity to read and understand.
This book is about two ‘pioneering French missionaries’ and their missions in New Mexico. The novel is based on the true life stories of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, the first Archbishop of Santa Fe and his com...more
Indeed, Death Comes for the Archbishop is a sort of miracle. Nine short chapters of unclutter...more
The book I finished just before starting this classic was Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not...more
How does one write a western about missionaries in New Mexico? I think it's foolish to assume that the conventions of the western narrative would be applied in such a story. But if you were to mix some of the familiar tropes of the western (The purifier comes to settle the land and the wild lawless society, a narrative much like Shane... or High Planes Drifter) with a biblical theme, in this case the problem presented at the Pentecost...more
30 JUN 2014 -- review soon to arrive. For right now, this is reading bliss. A new favorite!
This is a beautifully written, evocative book. While reading Death Comes for the Archbishop, all I had to do was close my eyes and I could see the mesas, pueblos, and old mission-style churches in New Mexico. I have never been to New Mexico, but through this book, I have made a journey with Fathers...more
Death Comes For The Archbishop is a book I chose because it is a classic. Willa Catha's name was mentioned somewhere, and I gritted my te...more
Not only that, the way Cather writes about the New Mexican landscape made me fall in love with the desert. Here, the land is one of the characters.
In Commonweal when asked about the genesis of her book Cather describes how learning of the life, times and friendship of two men of the early catholic church in the Southwest:
The first Archbishop of Santa Fe, Jean Baptiste Lamy and his friend and one time vicar, Joseph Projectus Machebeuf (1812-1889), the first Bishop of Denver who would later be r...more
The Roman Catholic Church initially sends Latour from...more
"Cute" books are books that don't necessarily carry a world-shattering message, are not always elevated to the point of rocking the reader's world, or revealing some life-changing messages. Cute books are books that are a pleasure to read, whose characters are genuinely personable, the descriptions are poetic, and the atmosphere as a whole is one of hidden pleasure, rather than of angst and w...more
November's Book Club Read
"Where there is great love there are always miracles. One might almost say that an apparition is human vision corrected by divine love. I do not see you as you really are, Joseph; I see you through my affection for you. The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a mom...more
I read through the novel convinced that Willa Cather was a Catholic, and a particularly deep and perceptive one. I then looked her up on Wiki and discovered she had been born a Baptist and had become an Episcopalian in 1922. I could hardly believe it. Wiki also described her as 'a resolutely private person'. I could believe that - she had a breadth and penetration of mind that put her completely out of step with the prejudices of her time: he...more
The story deals with two French Catholic missionary priests sent to an unknown diocese spreading out around Santa Fe, and with the Mexicans and Native Americans among whom they work. But interestingly, the m...more
The good part of this book is the language. Willa Cather is a masterful writer. I lived in Arizona for seven years and she describes the landscape so accurately. I could feel the sights and smells. It was also refreshing to have a genuinely loving and humble priest character for once. The only other one I can think of is Father McCallahan from MASH.
The bad par...more
How true Willa! How true.
Good to read a book of the Old American West with just as much attention to...more
The book is more a compilation of short stories than...more
the central belief that 'the Indian' belongs essentially to the past rather than to the present. He (or she) is an exotic relic of some earlier age that we have already passed through: either - depending on your point of view - a kind of primitive anarchy that we have overcome (...more
This is my first Willa Cather and I have high praise for her story-telling ability. This novel was odd - I did not have a strong liking for the characters but I was compelled to keep reading. This compulsion did not come from any great suspensful plot, instead the plot (if you could even call it that) was nothing more than the string of completely unrelated events that happen to a person during...more