After finishing O Pioneers
and loving it, I thought I'd pick this up next and read the Prairie Trilogy in order. I won't say I regret doing that, exactly, but there's definitely a reason this book isn't as well known (or as widely praised) as O Pioneers.
The show-to-tell ratio in this book is, unfortunately, much lower than in its predecessor. Either through her narration or, more tediously still, through her characters, Cather gives voice to a number of philosophical declarations, especially about the nature of being an artist (not to say the nature of art, really). Some are interesting, some are not, but few are very enlivening, and whole sections of the book are mired in these discussions. Apart from that, it's not bad, and there's plenty to like as well. The characters, despite their occasional roles as vessels for Cather's philosophizing, are relatively well fleshed out and interesting. Still, I expect to enjoy the last Prairie novel (My Antonia
) more, and I certainly did O Pioneers.