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Group Reads Archive > Song Of The Lark by Willa Cather (August 2010)

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message 1: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Let the discussions begin...


toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) Just got hold of this from the library, Will begin reading it soon.


message 3: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 561 comments This is second to Death Comes for the Archbishop as my favorite by Cather.


toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) Really enjoying this book. I love the language and the world that she creates with that language. I will start the discussion with the following questions;

What do you think of the main character?
Why do you think that the book starts in the pov of the doctor?
What do you think of the doctor?
What do you think of the parents?


message 5: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
My goodness Vikz - the speed of your reading bodes very well for this book - was it so good you couldn't put it down?

I must pick up my copy soon but I've been unable to get it from both my local and my city library...oh well, back to Amazon!

Ally


message 6: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments This is my first Willa Cather experience, although there might have been a short story we had to read in high school - something about the Post Office?

I'm not very far in. But I might beginning to wonder if there is a point to this story.

I'll plug along but I think I am seeing why I have stayed away from her. Maybe it gets better further in.

Was this an early work of hers and maybe she got better later on?


message 7: by El (new)

El Jan, I haven't read this one yet (hope to pick it up from the library this weekend), but Song of the Lark is one of Cather's earlier stories. Her first novel was published in 1912 and this one was published in 1915... but I've enjoyed other things I've read by Cather so I'm hoping I enjoy this one too.


message 8: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments well, i think this has picked up a little. i'm still early on. i have this on my kindle and i am trying to read 5% a day. i only started that this week so i am at 19%. she has only recently been advised to learn german. i am finding cather a very descriptive writer.


message 9: by El (new)

El I did manage to pick this up from the library over the weekend and am a little over halfway through. I see what Jan was saying in Message 7 in regards to whether or not there would be a point. At first it did seem a little too Winesburg, Ohio for my tastes. But by the time I reached Part II of the book I realized there does seem to be a point, that all of Thea's childhood friends really do help form her opinions on life and family.


message 10: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments El

I didn't think she had normal childhood friends. At least not her own age. Spanish Johnny and Mr. Wunsch and Dr. Archie appear to be her friends. And lovely Thor.

I too have reached Part II. I'm at about 35% of the book. And I think it has gotten better.


message 11: by El (new)

El I'm curious if anyone has any theory on why Cather makes so many references to the moon. They live in Moonstone, Thea notices the moonflower vines around Spanish Johnny's doorway, she talks about sleeping with the moonlight on her, etc. I was thinking it may be symbolic to the changes Thea goes through, but I'm open for any other suggestions. There seems to be a whole lotta moon for just no reason. :)


message 12: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Scott | 1 comments I just finished the book, and I enjoyed it, up until Part VI, where I felt Cather took the focus off of Thea's point of view. We didn't get as much of her thoughts as we were getting for the whole book -- except for the one scene where she frets over not being able to sleep -- and I was disappointed not to see how she dealt with fame and success more. Though, the last paragraph explains why Cather chose not to follow Thea's success.

For most of the book, I was wondering whether anyone bought Cather's idea that there are certain people who are more "alive" than others, who are "greater" than others, especially in this day when it's believed that it's not innate greatness that makes you great, but the hard work you put into it. Thea devoted herself to her studies, but there was also this underlying notion that she was capable of greatness because she had "personality" and "passion." I often felt confused whether it was Thea's greatness of personality or her greatness of passion and devotion that got her where she needed to be, or if it was both. It was an interesting theme, at least, and one that Cather followed well.

I also loved the line -- I think it's when Thea is on the train with Fred -- where she says something like, "The past ties itself up behind you," and how it's always harder to go back to what was than what could be. So beautiful, and so true, at least for me.


message 13: by Ivan (last edited Aug 22, 2010 03:28AM) (new)

Ivan | 561 comments I do believe that certain people are more alive, or greater than others - personality, passion and I would add talents. We certainly see this in entertainers. For example: there are lots of people who sing and act "better" than say, Bette Midler. However, she has a personal magnaticism that others lack (I would argue most of the "great" entertainers have this quality) that sets her apart. When she's on stage she is all you see - even when the stage is crowded. When she walks on the stage the atmosphere in the auditorium becomes charged. Lots of lesser talents succeed by sheer force of personality - in all walks of life. It's rare when the talents equal that force and when they do you get Noel Coward or Judy Garland or Frank Sinatra or Laurence Olivier or Barbra Streisand. I hope I made my point and didn't ramble too far.


message 14: by Ensiform (new)

Ensiform | 8 comments Slogging through this. 75% finished and 100 pages yet left, I find Thea's self-absorption insufferable and the prose mostly tedious. Thea is surrounded by sympathetic, even adoring, characters, but she herself is as cold and distant as, well, the moon. I've got to admit, this is not one of my favorite books.

I think the moon references may be an allusion to how Thea changes over the course of the book, becoming a "new" person, full and radiant?


message 15: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments Hard to believe, but I have FINALLY finished this book. I found myself liking it better than I thought I would. I found the descriptions almost poetic at times. I found it touching that she remembered crazy Aunt Tillie.

Some people are larger than life - whether it is innate talent, great passion, whatever. Ivan was talking about Bette Midler and the focus becomes totally her. I've never seen her perform. But I have seen Judy Garland and she was just mesmerizing. I think this was in 1966 or so and I still recall it vividly. I think I was taken for my 16th birthday. Maybe it was 17th.


message 16: by Ivan (last edited Dec 15, 2014 03:08PM) (new)

Ivan | 561 comments Jan C wrote: "Hard to believe, but I have FINALLY finished this book. I found myself liking it better than I thought I would. I found the descriptions almost poetic at times. I found it touching that she remembe..."

Mama Rose sang:

Some people got it
and make it pay
some people can't
even give it away
This people's got it
and this people's spreadin it around
you either have it
or you've had it!

Last year a very interesting documentary won the Oscar for best of year - "Twenty Feet from Stardom" - and it was all about back-up singers. It talked at length about how many of the back-up singers were technically better singers than those they were backing-up. But they also went on to say they lacked the sheer force of determination, the drive and stamina it takes to go out there every day and give it 100% - they said it's exhausting, and there is so much pressure when everyone is paying to see you - and they expect you to sound as good as you do on the CD - and remember every lyric and dance step and hit every note. Think about it - Bette Midler performs and there is an army of people on stage and back stage - musicians, roadies, sound techs, lighting techs, directors - and anyone of them can get sick or get trapped under something heavy and miss the show - but the show will go on without them; but it can't go on without Bette - she can't get sick or just not "feel it." Can you imagine the pressure?


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