Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Ántonia” as Want to Read:
My Ántonia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

My Ántonia

(Great Plains Trilogy #3)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  108,632 Ratings  ·  6,489 Reviews
Introduction and notes by Cordon Tapper.

“No romantic novel ever written in America . . . is one half so beautiful as My Ántonia” —H. L. Mencken

Widely recognized as Willa Cather’s greatest novel, My Ántonia is a soulful and rich portrait of a pioneer woman’s simple yet heroic life. The spirited daughter of Bohemian immigrants, Ántonia must adapt to a hard existence on the
Paperback, 222 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Barnes Noble Classics (first published 1918)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 stranger ...more
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.”

--Willa Cather, “My Antonia”

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
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
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-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
Henry Avila
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
James Quayle Burden loses both his parents at the tender age of ten in Virginia, by 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 O ...more
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
Jason Koivu
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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

… 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

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 and
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 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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 of
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.
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
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
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
Libros Prestados
La puntuación alta se debe en parte a la nostalgia: este libro me recordaba a mi abuela. Describe la vida de mujeres que de niñas/adolescentes dejaron sus granjas para ir a trabajar como sirvientas y así ayudar a la economía familiar. Sí, puede que se trate de mujeres inmigrantes, y mi abuela no lo era, pero hay parte de la misma adversidad y los mismos prejuicios de las chicas de ciudad a su origen rural que mi abuela solía relatar.

Eso no quiere decir que las cinco estrellas se deban solo a mis
Dec 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
Like many kids, the first “real” books I loved were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. Their great and continuing popularity makes perfect sense. Kids crave security and a sense of protection; Little House on the Prairie hammered on that theme repeatedly, while only giving the reader a frisson of the actual dangers and hardships of frontier life. There was never any explicit threat in any of the books, with the exception of the near fatal cold in The Long Winter (the one ...more
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
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libri-classici
A Cornhusk3.5er (a worthy trip to the Great Plains, but not especially compelling)

This 1918 novel is a nice portrait of a slice of American frontier life as experienced by immigrants and women in the late 1800s.

With a fascinated child's keen eye, Cather's narrator Jim Burden recalls Antonia Shimerda, his childhood friend and crush who moved to the Nebraska prairie frontier with her stout and sturdy Bohemian immigrant parents as they searched for better living.

The portrayal of the austerity of f
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favorites
If there were no girls like them in the world, there would be no poetry.

Frankly, I don't quite trust myself to put into words just how beautiful and hypnotizing Willa Cather's writing and story-telling ability is. This is one of those books you just have to read for yourself. The prose in this novel is outstanding and the characters and setting come to life as easily as breathing. Trust me, this is a hidden gem in a sea of classics.
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should probably start off by mentioning this isn't my favourite sort of story to read about. I don't particularly care about prairie life or this era of America, so I'd probably never love this book. That being said, I'd heard enough good things about it to give it a try. In the end I had mixed feelings, there were parts of the story that really drew me in and I liked the writing, but at other times I lost interest in the characters and the setting. Glad to have read it, but I probably won't r ...more
Ben Winch
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglo, american, 5-stars
I'm not sure I can tell you what's so great about My Antonia, except that you can't read it without loving its subject, or at least I couldn't. And that it's transparent - miraculously so - as without flash or ego as anything I've read in a long time. But ironically, this rare attribute may help conceal Cather's artistry. In her earlier O Pioneers!, from the first line her virtuosity was evident, but perhaps if I hadn't been so impressed by it there I wouldn't so instinctively have grasped it he ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"The only thing very noticeable about Nebraska was that it was still, all day long, Nebraska."

I have my own charming story about the endless rolling hills of Nebraska. When my husband and I first moved across the country from Oregon to Indiana, we spent a long day driving across Nebraska after spending a night there. As staunch Oregonians we were dying for some real coffee but whenever we asked, from Utah to Wyoming, people would shrug and say "we have coffee" and point to the gas station offeri
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Reading the Classics: My Antonia 9 89 Jul 29, 2018 07:05PM  
how do I delete a book? 1 3 Jul 13, 2018 06:33AM  
Play Book Tag: My Antonia | Willa Cather | 5 stars 2 16 Apr 29, 2018 08:10AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Multiple issues 2 21 Feb 21, 2018 11:18PM  
  • Giants in the Earth
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories
  • Babbitt
  • The Reef
  • Washington Square
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (The Growth Trilogy, #2)
  • One Lonely Night
  • Winter Wheat
  • Sentimental Education
  • The Alcoholics
  • The Wife (Kristin Lavransdatter, #2)
  • The Awakening and Selected Stories
  • Look Homeward, Angel
  • Shane
  • The Prairie (Leatherstocking Tales, #5)
Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, 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 writin ...more

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)
“Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.” 863 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.” 278 likes
More quotes…