Books about Nebraska discussion

Who is Nebraska's greatest writer?

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message 1: by Stew (new)

Stew | 6 comments Mod
Is it Willa Cather, Wright Morris, Mari Sandoz?
What do you think?

message 2: by Tony (new)

Tony | 1 comments Tough question Stew. In all fairness I have only read Wright Morris and Sandoz. Hard to believe I haven't read a book by Willa Cather. By all respects it appears Ms. Cather is the best known, Wright Morris the most decorated and Ms. Sandoz probably the most accessible. So I vote in bias for Mari for her having grown up near Gordon. Ron Hansen is another great writer and don't forget the infamous, L.Ron Hubbard, lol. Tony

message 3: by Stew (new)

Stew | 6 comments Mod
I'm going with Cather. I almost have to. I lived in Cather Hall at UNL! I also lived for one year in Neihardt Hall.
But Cather I think left behind such a great body of work. She's got my vote.
I don't blame someone from Sheridan County for going with Sandoz, though.
We really have three distinct regions on Nebraska represented with those three.
Can't hurt to pick up copies of O Pioneers, My Antonia or Song of the Lark.

message 4: by Lori (new)

Lori (onthelam67) | 1 comments Willa Cather far and away. Her work was ahead of its time and she took chances that other women of the day probably didn't even dream about.

message 5: by Stew (new)

Stew | 6 comments Mod
Looks like Cather is ahead so far. I would say of the three, she is the best known outside of Nebraska.

message 6: by Elise (new)

Elise | 1 comments I've loved Willa Cather ever since reading "My Antonia" as a high school sophomore. I had to go digging in it the other day to find Cather's beautiful description of winter light:

“The pale, cold light of the winter sunset did not beautify--it was like the light of truth itself. When the smoky clouds hung low in the west and the red sun went down behind them, leaving a pink flush on the snowy roofs and the blue drifts, then the wind sprang up afresh, with a kind of bitter song, as if it said: `This is reality, whether you like it or not. All those frivolities of summer, the light and shadow, the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies, and this is what was underneath. This is the truth.'”

message 7: by Stew (new)

Stew | 6 comments Mod
Having grown up in the city of Omaha, Cather really made me appreciate the beauty of the prairie. After all, any damn fool can see that the Rockies are stunning. It takes a great writer to make others see how lovely the wide open spaces can be.
Thanks for finding this lovely passage, Elise.

message 8: by Mary Jo (new)

Mary Jo Cee (majorc) | 1 comments I'm with the Cather crowd, for three reasons:

1. "My Antonia" was required reading in high school.
2. My grandma was a Bohemian hired girl for a rich family, too.
3. Cather knew Nebraska and its smalltown folks like no other author since.

Funny how few books one might love after a lifetime of learning. This is one of them.

message 9: by Jeff (new)

Jeff | 2 comments I only have one candidate to vote for since I've only read Sandoz. Like Mary Jo, 'My Antonia' was required reading but I took that requirement more as a suggestion. But my guess is Sandoz would be my choice anyway. Largely for the reason Stew pointed out that each author addresses a different region of the state and reading Mari I feel northwest Nebraska in my bones.

Her prose feels like northwest Nebraska. Her descriptions are spot on, she gets the dialogue just right, but its her style, the way she writes, that captures the feel of the place at a gut level.

So, Stew, does this mean your choice would change if you had lived in the dorm next to Abel?

message 10: by Stew (new)

Stew | 6 comments Mod
No. Still going with Cather. Besides the regional aspect, I think there is also a distinction between Cather and Sandoz because Sandoz' most famous works were nonfiction, and Cather's was fiction.
I'm sticking with the novelist in this case.

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