Lauren's Reviews > The Song of the Lark

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
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's review
Jul 16, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, american-classic
Read from July 13 to 24, 2012 — I own a copy

The Song of the Lark starts off by painting a beautifully detailed portrait of the heroine Thea's childhood in the Colorado town of Moonstone. This portion of the book is autobiographical, drawn from Willa Cather's own childhood in Red Cloud, Nebraska. Cather's characters are described in loving detail along with the unique landscape of the Colorado desert.

When Thea is a young woman, she moves to Chicago to study music with the pianist Harsanyi, and there meets a young businessman, Fred Ottenburg. He helps her career by introducing her to musical patrons and inviting her to his Arizona ranch for a summer of recuperation. Their relationship continues to influence Thea throughout her musical career, but does not develop much after their trip to Panther Canyon.

I found Thea to grow cold in the last third of the book, and was dismayed by Dr. Archie's first glimpse of her after he arrives in New York. She seems to have been beaten down by the rigors of competitive singing.

This is the kind of book that I felt would have benefited from being read with a group or class. There was very little in the way of plot, and so it felt like the point of the book was a statement Cather was making about art and the nature of artists. Unfortunately, I didn't always feel like I was grasping everything Cather intended, but I still enjoyed reading the novel for the most part. Although the ending of the last chapter was not satisfying, the Epilogue was.

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Reading Progress

07/19/2012 page 174
40.0% "Initially I read the introduction and thought, "Oh no. This is an art book." Based on the themes explained in the introduction, I was worried that the book would be dense. Absolutely not! It's been a pleasure to read so far. I may be missing some references but that is not detracting from my enjoyment of the book."

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