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The Professor's House by Willa Cather
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Aug 02, 08

bookshelves: 1001
Read in July, 2008

This was the second Willa Cather book that I have read and while I did not find it quite as impressive as “My Antonia,” I thought it was still quite remarkable. I had a little bit of trouble slogging through some of the opening chapters, but the plot eventually gets much more exciting and interesting as the tone shifts from third person to Tom Outland’s story and then to the first person. Interesting theories also exist with this book and how it relates to Cather’s relationship with her former lover, Isabelle McClung.

On its surface, the novel concerns Professor Godfrey St. Peter and his finest student, Tom Outland. The best aspects of the book come near its conclusion as Professor St. Peter ruminates on the lost opportunities in his life and what it means to grow older. I especially enjoyed the themes involving relationships with others, especially family, and why we hold on to the past. I also found the middle section of the book involving Tom Outland’s story set in the Southwest to be remarkable. Much like with “My Antonia,” Cather can certainly paint a picture of a place. The simplicity and directness of her style is also remarkable. Well worth the time, however, I am not sure why it and not other Cather works are included on the 1001 books to read list.
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