Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Antonia (Great Plains trilogy #3)” as Want to Read:
My Antonia (Great Plains trilogy #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

My Antonia

(Great Plains Trilogy #3)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  124,071 ratings  ·  7,740 reviews
Through Jim Burden's endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland, with all its insistent bonds. Guiding the way are some of literature's most beguiling characters: the Russian brothers plagued by memories of a fateful sleigh ride, Antonia's desperately homesick father and self-indulgent mother, and the coy Le ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published March 4th 2009 by Pocket Books (first published 1918)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Antonia, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Susanne Ortiz They are three different stories, just based in the same time period.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  124,071 ratings  ·  7,740 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of My Antonia (Great Plains trilogy #3)
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: littry-fiction
i read this book the same day i found out that sparkling ice had introduced two new flavors, pineapple coconut and lemonade.

what does this have to do with anything, you ask??

well, sparkling ice is sort of a religion with me, and this book was wonderful, so it was kind of a great day, is all. i don't have a lot of those.

why have i never read willa cather before? i'm not sure. i think i just always associated her with old ladies, and i figured i would read her on my deathbed or something. maybe it
I would have called 'My Ántonia' an immigrant novel. But then I realized that dubious distinction is reserved only for the creations of writers of colour - Jhumpa Lahiri, Zadie Smith, Xiaolu Guo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sunjeev Sahota, Yiyun Li, Lee Chang Rae and so on and so forth. Especially now when the word 'immigrant', hurled at us ad nauseam from the airwaves and the domains of heated social media discussions, invokes images of gaunt, exhausted but solemnly hopeful faces of Syrians knock ...more
Meredith Holley
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hemingway fans, good people
Recommended to Meredith by: nobody, and why?!
Maybe what I love about Willa Cather is all the kinds of love and belonging she writes. Her unhappy marriages and her comfortable ones; her volatile love and her unconsummated longing; and her lone, happy people, are all so different, but so how I see the world. I think the way she writes them is wise. Unreliable narrators are delightful to read because, in the sense that the author has shown me their unreliability, she has also shown me their uniqueness and humanity. I think Jim Burden, the nar ...more
Henry Avila
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Quayle Burden loses both his parents at the tender age of ten in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, sent by relatives to his grandparents (Josiah and Emmaline Burden) by train, in the custody of a trusted employee that worked for his late father teenager Jake Marpole, reaching the farm safely in the still wild prairie state of Nebraska, newly settled by Americans, the Indians have been scattered and are no longer a threat , but the harsh frontier land remains untamed. Colorful Otto Fu ...more
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-novels
“I sat down in the middle of the garden, where the snakes could scarcely approach unseen, and leaned m back against a warm yellow pumpkin. There were some ground-cherry bushes growing along the furrows, full of fruit. I turned back the papery triangular sheaths that protected the berries and ate a few. All about me giant grasshoppers, twice as big as any I had ever seen, were doing acrobatic feats among the dried vines. The gophers scurried up and down the ploughed ground. There in the sheltered ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2018-completed
What a spell Willa Cather weaves in this, the final book of her Great Plains Trilogy, sometimes known as the Prairie Trilogy. This novel, more than any of the two previous novels, reminded me absurdly yet so strongly of Kent Haruf’s novels. Absurdly? Yes – their time frame is separated by a few generations and their locations separated by a few States in-between. Yet, it is the atmosphere created, the way the stories are told simply yet clearly and with great feeling – these are the qualities th ...more
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Nebraskan prairie civilization is like the dogtown that lives below it. It is a web of families & favors. And that's the way of life. Antonia, the magnetic and emblematic figure in the middle of it all--in this narrative of remembrance, of singular impressions--is a strong rock, a hardworking beacon of goodness in a world that is simultaneously vast & asphyxiating, with its rattlesnakes, sicknesses, suicides and slight silver linings. Also a sight to behold: the kindness of strangers & how ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am absolutely convinced that I have fallen in love with Cather’s writing, she abducts you with the detailed descriptions of the landscapes and with the characters of her stories, creating a real addiction to your soul...
In this work we find the destiny of Bohemian and Scandinavian families struggling with the hard life and survival in the new world, precisely in Nebraska and Kansas.
Cather will make us discover the saga of the Shimeda family, of which Antonia belongs to and the Harling family,
Jason Koivu
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Here lie glorious character sketches. Be sure to pay your respects.

I dragged my feet. I came late to the party. I regret it.

This is one of those books I've known about for ages, but was ignorant and flat out mistaken about its subject matter. A friend in college wrote a poem based off of it and my impression from that experience was that My Antonia was about a man describing a woman for the length of an entire novel. That would be a gross oversimplification of the book. It's so much more than t
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recs, 2020
A plainspoken account of turn-of-the-century life on the Nebraskan prairie, told from the perspective of an East Coast businessman recounting his childhood in the Midwest. The coming-of-age novel centers on the lifelong friendship between the affluent narrator, Jim Burden, and his former neighbor Ántonia Shimerda, a Bohemian immigrant whose family struggled to assimilate into the American mainstream. The novel starts off shakily, slow moving and full of stereotypes, but turns into a thoughtful r ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rowena by: Cheryl
Shelves: american-lit
"There seemed to be nothing to see; no fences, no creeks or trees, no hills or fields. If there was a road, I could not make it out in the faint starlight. There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made."- Willa Cather, My Ántonia

For someone who grew up watching "Little House on the Prairie", this was an interesting and nostalgic look at my childhood fancies and romanticized images of frontier life. Making a new life, taming the land, and c
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I’d like to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister-anything that a woman can be to a man. The idea of you is a part of my mind. You influence my likes and dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of times when I don’t realize it. You really are a part of me.”

Oh, Jim! She really did a number on you! I guess it couldn’t be helped, because after knowing Antonia Shimerda, I can’t help being enamored with her myself. It is not even easy to say things so illuminating about a human b
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those wanting to get hold of an elusive past
Shelves: read-in-2014, dost
“Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” (p.259)

More than a Wild West story about the adventurous frontier life in the Nebraska plains, I thought My Ántonia was a novel about red seas of prairie grass and hard blue skies and black ploughs outlined against crimson suns and adults chasing the casted shadows of their pasts. Prior to the comforting embrace of the Nebraskan landscape there was only the most profound homesickness. Homesickness for
Glenn Sumi

My rating for My Ántonia? 5 stars shining brightly in the cloudless Nebraska sky, so vividly and lovingly evoked by Willa Cather in this elegiac novel about farmers and immigrant settlers making lives for themselves in the harsh, beautiful, bountiful prairies.

(Sorry about that graceless run-on incomplete sentence. Cather, with her clear, descriptive, unpretentious prose, would never commit such a sin.)

Some people and places are forever etched in our memories. Can you recall the landscapes of you

… more than anything else I felt motion in the landscape; in the fresh, easy-blowing morning wind, and in the earth itself, as if the shaggy grass were a sort of loose hide, and underneath it herds of wild buffalo were galloping, galloping …

High Plains mixed-grass prairie during springtime. Near Harrison, Nebraska.
From Flickr, by

Willa Cather

Willa Cather – born 1873 near Winchester Virginia. Her family moved to Nebraska in 1883 when she was nine, joining h
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Hawk, Nebraska.  Late 1880's or so, when the West was still wild.  This particular area is amply populated with immigrants from Bohemia, Norway, and Sweden, most of them living in sod houses.  All with their own prejudices, but most finding common ground with each other at some point.  The threat of rattlesnakes, coyotes, and Mother Nature's atrocities does not differentiate between them, all are fair game.  

Back in the early 80's, my husband and I bought a selection of 100 classics from T

That's how her name is pronounced, and not like An'-tow-niya which is how I always thought it was. I found this clarification, at the very start of the book, remarkable(for me) because it changed the way I read about her, till the very last page. At every mention of her name, my mind tried to pronounce it the Bohemian way, thus, never letting me forget the eccentricity and congeniality of this unforgettable character.

I have somehow spent almost a month reading this little book a
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a daunting task to find anything fresh to say about a book that is justifiably regarded as a classic, so I will keep this one fairly short.

Willa Cather moved with her family from New England to rural Nebraska as a child, at a time when new farmland there was still being pioneered, so this tale of the state's development and specifically the experiences of the first generation immigrant farming families from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia that settled it, is inevitably coloured by her own
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cheryl by: Nidhi Singh
She makes me revel in the beauty of four seasons: burning summers when the world lies green and billowy beneath a brilliant sky...the color and smell of strong weeds and heavy harvests; blustery winters with little snow, when the whole country is stripped bare and gray as sheet-iron. I read her and I forsake all others, for she tells me that no one can give the sensation of place through narrative, and also deliver such soul-stirring and wistful storytelling quite like she can.

She gives me quiet
Well, a strange book.

The author starts off by denying that she is the author. Not my story, no sirree, I have no responsibility what so ever for what happens between those pages, nuthin' to do with me, it's these guys you see having a gossip on a railway carriage, one of them narrates the scene and the other one, well he's the one who writes the story.

Having asserted her distance from the narrative, she is free to write what ever she wants. What she wants is a bit strange. The narration is meant
Diane Barnes
I can't even express how much I love this book. A re-read for me after many years, it made me feel the same way now as it did then. I had such a peaceful feeling of comfort and belonging while reading, as though I knew these people and this land. Willa Cather is an artist when she writes about the Midwest, her words come straight from her soul. A top five favorite novel for me. ...more
Two old friends meet on a train. They grew up together in the same town, and lived in the same city, New York, although they hardly ever saw each other there. They decided to do an unusual thing. They would write down their memories of one particular girl. In a community filled with the good, the bad and the unbelievable, she unknowingly became the primary color in many people's pictures of their lives on the remote prairies of Nebraska. She simply refused to fade away in anyone's memories.

Nidhi Singh
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nidhi by: Dolors
To speak her name was to call up pictures of peoples and places, to set a quiet drama going in one’s brain.

‘My Antonia’ is a story of home and homesickness. Of the memories of a lost home that persist in the mindscape as the warm gusts of wind and the singing of the larks. The home of that golden sunshine and yellow leaves, red shaggy grass and blue skies. The images which make me think of home as the quietest, friendliest corner of a crowded and uncaring street, of that kind touch in midst
My Antonia was an unexpected, pleasant surprise.  This is another Read Harder task:  Read an assigned book you hated (or never finished).  I was assigned to read this during my junior year in college.  I never cracked the spine.  It was a religion in literature class.  Honestly, I was expecting My Antonia to be a proselytizing piece of work.  What I got after finally reading it some 30+ years later was not a discussion of religion (it's there but not nearly as much as anticipated), but a discuss ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
Perhaps an example of the danger of reading something before being intellectually or critically able to handle it. I wasn't "forced" to read this in high school but it was on a list of books an English teacher asked us to choose from and report on.

The experience was so awful that I've never cracked another Cather novel since.

Added 12/29/08: Apparently I was not the only young man "traumatized" by an early experience with Cather. In a completely serendipitous convergence I came across this paragr
The Book Maven
When I first arrived in Indiana in August 2004, I didn't know what I was expecting. My ancestors had first arrived in that Midwestern state in 1820, when it was still comparatively wild and unsettled. They were the true pioneers, but nonetheless, as I got out of my little Corolla to stretch my legs, I felt like I was a trailblazer, too.

We had stopped at a little gas station and truck stop just beyond the Indiana state line. I took a moment to call the relatives, let them know I was two hours aw
May 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: who care about American literature
Recommended to John by: read it to teach it
My latest encounter with a masterwork -- a novel I just completed in order to teach, and one that seduced me wonderfully and quite unexpectedly. Cather's Nebraska story goes over ground that's never much mattered to me, Midwestern farm country. Yet she made made the experience ache and thrill marvelously, via her poetic command of landscape and season, her exactitude when it comes to tools and foods and skin texture, and above all her penetrating sympathy for every figure, from the venal to the ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
***3.5 Stars*** Vignettes of the Nebraska prairie, illustrated with lyrical prose. It is written as a memoir of the narrator, Jim Burden as he reflects on his early childhood when he was an orphan living with his grandparents on a farm near Black Hawk Nebraska (around the 1880s). Above all, he reminisces about a Bohemian immigrant girl named Antonia Shimerda.

Her novel has been dissected and analyzed by far more talented reviewers and critics than I’ll ever be so there is no need for me to be rep
Ahmad Sharabiani
My Ántonia (Great Plains Trilogy #3), Willa Cather
My Ántonia is a novel published in 1918 by American writer Willa Cather, considered one of her best works. It is the final book of her "Great Plains trilogy" of novels, preceded by O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark. The novel tells the stories of an orphaned boy from Virginia, Jim Burden, and the elder daughter in a family of Bohemian immigrants, Ántonia Shimerda, who are each brought as children to be pioneers in Nebraska towards the end of
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ethan Frome
  • The Awakening
  • The Age of Innocence
  • The House of Mirth
  • Passing
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Winesburg, Ohio
  • The Jungle
  • Cane
  • Sister Carrie
  • Daisy Miller
  • The White Death: A History of Tuberculosis
  • Strength Training Past 50
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Red Badge of Courage
  • The Scarlet Letter
  • Silas Marner
  • Gilead
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, in December 7, 1873.

She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal. Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a bachelor's d

Other books in the series

Great Plains Trilogy (3 books)
  • O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1)
  • The Song of the Lark (Great Plains Trilogy #2)

Articles featuring this book

  Author Lydia Denworth is a science journalist who has written about everything from Alzheimer’s to zebrafish. In her latest book,...
47 likes · 10 comments
“Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.” 864 likes
“I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.” 303 likes
More quotes…