Book #38, Willa Cather, My Antonia
Now, this is writing. Listen:
Occasionally, one of the horses would tear off with his teeth a plant full of blossoms, and walk along munching it, the flowers nodding in time with his bites as he ate down toward them.
Fabulous reality. Right there.
And the characters, and the society, and the breath of the light over the land, and the way everything works together to make you believe in these people, in their time, in this passing instant of the world. And then, and then... there's the book's uncomplicated, unconscious vintage 1900 racism. Which just completely made me wince when I turned a corner and stumbled over it.
I can't blame the book for it. Not given when it was written. But it's a burr under the saddle-blanket, nonetheless.
It's not a burr that can ruin the book, which is breathtaking. Not only is it beautifully written and evocative, but it's got a kind of quiet truth hovering in it that encompasses the choices and the mistakes and the sacrifices that the characters make, and turns them all into reflections of one another.