Read A Lost Lady by Willa Cather Online

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Marian Forrester is the symbolic flower of the Old American West. She draws her strength from that solid foundation, bringing delight and beauty to her elderly husband, to the small town of Sweet Water where they live, to the prairie land itself, and to the young narrator of her story, Neil Herbert. All are bewitched by her brilliance and grace, and all are ultimately betrMarian Forrester is the symbolic flower of the Old American West. She draws her strength from that solid foundation, bringing delight and beauty to her elderly husband, to the small town of Sweet Water where they live, to the prairie land itself, and to the young narrator of her story, Neil Herbert. All are bewitched by her brilliance and grace, and all are ultimately betrayed. For Marian longs for "life on any terms," and in fulfilling herself, she loses all she loved and all who loved her. This, Willa Cather's most perfect novel, is not only a portrait of a troubling beauty, but also a haunting evocation of a noble age slipping irrevocably into the past....

Title : A Lost Lady
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0679928872
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 150 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Lost Lady Reviews

  • Duane
    2019-04-06 09:10

    Set in the fictional prairie town of Sweet Water, Nebraska. A Lost Lady is the story of Mrs. Marian Forrester and young Neil Herbert who adores her. The way she takes care of her husband, the stately manner she comports herself, is perfection in the eyes of Neil. But Marian is not perfect, and she begins her downfall in Neil's eyes when he discovers she is having an affair while her husband is away. Later in the story, after her husband has died, Marian has a relationship with the despised Ivy Peters, and her decline is complete for Neil. Willa Cather always develops memorable characters in her novels, and Marian Forrester is no exception. Marian was Fitzgerald's inspiration for Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby. I've read most of Cather's novels and I put A Lost Lady right up there with My Ántonia and One of Ours. She truly was a national treasure, one of the great American writers of the 20th century.

  • Orsodimondo
    2019-04-02 12:37

    UNA SIGNORA NAUFRAGA COME NOIBarbara Staynwick è A Lost Lady nell’omonimo film del 1934.Indimenticabile il racconto che Truman Capote fa del suo incontro con Willa Cather in “Musica per camaleonti”:Un giorno di gennaio uscii dalla biblioteca al tramonto e mi trovai sotto una nevicata. La signora con gli occhi azzurri, che indossava un cappotto nero, di ottimo taglio, con il collo di ermellino, era in attesa sul marciapiede. Una mano era levata in aria, per chiamare un taxi, ma non c'era ombra di taxi. Mi guardò, sorrise, e disse: Crede che una tazza di cioccolata gioverebbe?C'è un Longchamps dietro l'angolo." Lei ordinò una cioccolata calda; io chiesi un martini "molto" secco. Mi chiese, semiseria, "Ma è abbastanza grande?" "Bevo da quando avevo quattordici anni. E fumo, anche." "Non dimostra più di quattordici anni, ora." "Ne compio diciannove a settembre".Poi le raccontai alcune cose: che ero di New Orleans, che avevo pubblicato diversi racconti, che volevo fare lo scrittore e stavo lavorando a un romanzo. E lei volle sapere quali scrittori americani mi piacevano. "Hawthorne, Henry James, Emily Dickinson" "No, viventi." Ah, be', uhm, vediamo: molto arduo, dato il fattore rivalità, per un autore contemporaneo, o un potenziale autore, ammetterne di ammirarne un altro. Infine dissi: "Hemingway, non un uomo assolutamente disonesto, un velleitario in tutto. Thomas Wolfe, non tutto quel vomito violetto; e poi, certo, non è vivo. Faulkner, in certe cose: Luce d'agosto. Fitzgerald, in certe cose: Diamond as big as the Ritz, Tenera è la notte. Mi piace molto Willa Cather. Ha letto My mortal Enemy?" 

Senza un'espressione particolare rispose: "Per la verità l'ho scritto."L’opera della Cather ebbe una prima versione cinematografica all’epoca del muto, nel 1924.La signora in questione, Willa Cather, che all’epoca di questo incontro era prossima alla fine del suo cammino, aveva indimenticabili occhi azzurri, dell'azzurro chiaro, vivido, tenero dei cieli sopra le praterie.Echi di bovarismo, perché ogni donna che cerca di sfuggire alla monotonia del vincolo matrimoniale e della vita di provincia va sempre ricondotta al celebre personaggio flaubertiano; profumi di Henry James ed Edith Wharton, per qualcuno anche nuance di Tolstòj, per me invece la fascinazione da innamorato in erba che il giovane Neil nutre per la signora Forrester rimanda a “The Go-Between” L.P.Hartley; grande scrittrice, apprezzata al suo tempo, meno dopo la sua uscita di scena, adesso riconosciuta ma non ancora celebre, Willa Cather pubblicò questo romanzo breve nel 1923 ambientandolo alla fine del secolo precedente. I tre protagonisti di un film da me molto amato: “The Go-Between/Messaggero d’amore” di Joseph Losey, 1971.Prima di tutto, prima del ritratto femminile che giustifica il titolo (e come alcuni lettori hanno fatto notare, più che perduta la signora è sperduta, smarrita, confusa, e soprattutto naufraga della/nella vita), io ho trovato l’affresco di un’epoca giunta alla sua fine, quella dei pionieri, ho letto il tramonto del West, il crepuscolo della Frontiera, l’America che avrebbe potuto essere, la fine di un sogno, e la nascita contemporanea della civiltà moderna già guasta e corrotta, in mano a sfruttatori e lacchè che non hanno conquistato niente né rischiato niente. Un processo che marcia alla stessa velocità del treno, altro grande protagonista di quest’opera, al punto che le persone e i posti cambiano così in fretta che non rimane niente per cui tornare.Era la stessa donna indomabile di sempre… – solo che ora, ad ascoltarla, erano rimasti solo i servi di scena. Tutti coloro che avevano condiviso con lei le belle imprese e le occasioni brillanti se ne erano andati. La costruzione della ferrovia negli Stati Uniti.Con una scrittura che credo si possa definire cristallina, se con questo termine s’intende discrezione, sapienza, trasparenza, ho letto un racconto di stoicismo, passione trattenuta, delusione, e mal di vivere.Ho letto soprattutto un inno a quello svago fecondo, una risorsa praticamente inesauribile che è la lettura.p. 67-68La libreria alta stretta che si trovava nell’ufficio piccolo, tra la porta e il muro, era tutta stipata di volumi dall’aspetto solenne, rilegati in tela scura e separati dalla biblioteca giuridica: era la collezione quasi completa dei classici Bohn, che il giudice Pommeroy aveva comprato tanto tempo prima, quando ancora studiava all’Università della Virginia. Poi li aveva portati con sé nel West, non perché li leggesse assiduamente, ma perché ai suoi tempi un gentiluomo doveva avere nella sua biblioteca quel genere di libri, proprio come doveva avere un bordeaux in cantina. La serie comprendeva anche le opere di Byron in tre volumi, e l’anno prima, a proposito di una citazione che Neil non aveva riconosciuto, lo zio gli aveva consigliato di leggerle tutte, tranne il Don Giovanni. Quello, aveva commentato il giudice con un sorriso sornione, poteva aspettare. Naturalmente Niel lo lesse per primo, quindi passò a Tom Jones e al Wilhelm Meister, via via fino a Montaigne e alle opere complete di Ovidio. Ma questi ultimi, poi, non li aveva accantonati – vi faceva sempre ritorno dopo altre escursioni. Gli sembrava che questi autori sapessero il fatto loro: se c’era del frivolo nel Don Giovanni, quei signori ne erano del tutto immuni.Nella raccolta c’erano anche opere filosofiche, ma Niel si limitò a scorrerle. Non provava alcuna curiosità per ciò che gli uomini avevano pensato, ma per ciò che avevano sentito e vissuto il suo appetito era insaziabile. Se qualcuno gli avesse detto che quei libri erano dei classici e rappresentavano la saggezza dei secoli non li avrebbe nemmeno sfogliati, ma il fatto di averli scoperti per conto suo lo avevano portato a condurre una doppia vita, con tutti i suoi colpevoli piaceri. Aveva letto e riletto le Eroidi: gli parvero le più belle storie d’amore che fossero mai state raccontate. Per Neil quei libri non erano invenzioni destinate a far trascorrere il tempo più piacevolmente, ma creature viventi colte nell’atto stesso di vivere – soprese dietro l’ingannevole rigore della forma letteraria. Egli ascoltava le voci del passato, veniva introdotto in quel mondo sconfinato che si era immerso nella vita e aveva sontuosamente peccato, scintillando di tutte le sue luci, molto tempo prima che le piccole città del West fossero anche soltanto concepite. Quelle serate trascorse in estasi assoluta accanto al lume gli slargarono la mente, modificarono le sue idee sulle persone e lo aiutarono a capire con esattezza come desiderava che fossero i suoi rapporti con loro.L’America delle ferrovie: il treno di Santa Fe (New Mexico) nel 1890.

  • Katie
    2019-03-27 11:16

    Earlier this year, in the Fall, my family decided to go through all of my grandma's old books. She was a literature professor, so this was a pretty big task. My aunt boxed them all up and brought them in her van to the family reunion. My mom and her two sisters spent an entire morning going through the books, dividing them up like players in a fantasy football draft. I came in later and set a few aside for myself. I was looking at this book, A Lost Lady, when my cousin came in and told me how incredibly boring Willa Cather is. She said she had to read My Antonia for class and just hated it. I decided to give it a whirl anyway. I mean, if my grandma had it, it must have meant at least a little something to her, right?As it turns out, my cousin is full of crap. I really loved this book. It made me feel nostalgic in a way that I just adore. I think bittersweet is my favorite emotion. It's a coming-of-age story in a way. The young man grows up and has his illusions about Mrs. Forrester (the "lost lady") dashed. At first, he's very angry that she's not who he imagined. But, as time goes by, he accepts her as she is, both in real life and in his mind. It's a story about having the romanticized veil lifted, which can be very painful. But, acceptance of what truly lies underneath is a beautiful thing. Even if it takes some time.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-12 12:25

    Four and a half.The elegant, beautiful Marian Forrester captivates not only her older husband, Captain Forrester, an elderly railroad pioneer, but also everyone she meets. She has energy, spirit and a passionate nature which helps in her move to the small town of Sweet Water, but she is also reckless and vulnerable. Captain Forrester values his wife and basks in her glory. He makes allowances for her behaviour and accepts her with an open heart.This slim novel is powerful and very moving. Beautifully written with sharp, spare prose which heightens the meaning of the simplest of gestures and the slightest statement. Her characters are complex and hauntingly linger in my mind. Cather writes an unflinching portrait of a woman who is vibrant, contradictory, dangerous and lost.

  • lorinbocol
    2019-04-08 10:29

    un personaggio femminile immerso nel fluido dei facili costumi riceve e dà al romanzo una spinta verso l'alto pari al peso della reputazione spostata.

  • Juliana
    2019-04-11 15:23

    My review: https://theblankgarden.com/2017/12/16...

  • Cynthia
    2019-03-31 10:11

    A young man grows up worshiping an older, gracious woman but he can't forgive her for choosing a vigorous, full life over his youthful, staid definition propriety. You can feel his angst over his puppy love for her battling the static vision he needs from her. She however, has her own longing to keep living and loving to her fullest ability. They both find a type of peace in the end. Cather explores how well we can actually know and understand others. As a young woman the aging heroine married a much older man. He comes from another era, from US pioneer times, with it's unique behavior codes for men and women, right and wrong. Even though these codes appear brittle from the outside he as an individual manages to see his wife as a complete person with her strengths and foibles as well as her dreams of what might have been or could be. He honors her with this more complete and intimate understanding of her in a way the heroine worshipping boy can't. The boy grows up and begins to see the gray where before he only saw black and white. Cather always excels at showing the range of human emotions and she does so in such few words and without maudlin emotion.

  • Anastasia
    2019-03-26 14:23

    Uhm:La "signora perduta" che sta al centro di questo romanzo vive nel vecchio West. E' bellissima, nobile, affascina tutti. La vediamo attraverso gli occhi di un ragazzo che nulla ama al mondo quanto farle visita. Ma la "signora perduta" cela in sé un'attrazione per qualcosa tra il losco e il sordido, una sorta di perverso desiderio di degradazione.Io mi chiedo che abbia capito l'Adelphi di questo libro se la descrizione e la sua reale essenza non potrebbero essere più diversi di così. Una signora "perduta"? ..."perduta"?Eh? Ma no! A Lost Lady - secondo la mia personalissima intepretazione - ha un'accezione diversa, più "sperduta" che "perduta" - non vedo esattamente come -, forse ancora meglio "naufraga", peccato che non possa accoppiarsi tanto bene con "lady".Dev'essere che Mrs Forrester e Eva Kampann non si sono tanto capite, in realtà, a giudicare anche dalla sinossi. A Lost Lady è la storia di un abbaglio, di un'idealizzazione durata anni e anni. Niel, voce adorante di questa storia, è un giovane promettente architetto di cui si può fidare: una persona seria, con dei valori, principi, e con un'idea dell'affascinante Mrs Forrester..appunto distorta. Il libro procede capitolo per capitolo a togliere i veli a quella idealizzazione e a mettere in luce la vera natura di Marian, che non ha nulla che non sia altro che "umano" nei suoi bisogni e desideri (che non mi sembrano perversi desideri di degradazione, ma che caaaaz.., o attrazione per cose losche e sordide..ma abbiamo letto lo stesso libro?).Willa Cather è una bellissima scoperta: un romanzo breve - o racconto lungo - che resta, che a modo suo si distingue, c'è prima di tutto una storia coinvolgente: fino all'ultimo si analizza e si cerca di penetrare l'aura di mistero attorno a Mrs Forrester; e poi c'è uno stile preciso, determinato ma delicato di una scrittrice che non ritrae nient'altro che il necessario con un tocco morbido, che fa di Una signora perduta una lettura persino rilassante, nonostante il fatto che non sia proprio da ombrellone, è semplicemente la corrente sinuosa del suo stile.

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-04-18 16:32

    Há livros que me vejo perdida para opinar qualquer coisa sobre eles. Este por exemplo...Comprei-o por instinto numa qualquer feira do livro e, provavelmente, morreria sem o ler caso não deparasse, num outro livro, com a referência à genialidade de Willa Cather. Embora este não seja considerado o seu melhor romance, a sua leitura é um prazer, quer pela escrita - delicada e cativante -, quer pela história que conta: a de Marian Forrester, uma mulher que não renuncia ao amor, mesmo indo contra as convenções da sua época; e quando a fatalidade a atinge inventa forças para lutar contra a adversidade, mantendo sempre a vontade de viver..."Ela conservava ainda a sua natureza indomável, qual actriz a representar o papel de sempre - mas no teatro, para a ouvir, só restavam os maquinistas de cena e os ajudantes."

  • Reese
    2019-04-07 12:33

    Load up on details about landscape, and the weight takes the story down. I've been wedded to that view for a LONG time, but I recently got a divorce -- thanks to A Lost Lady. Well, maybe not a divorce, but I've agreed to a trial separation. The surprises in the plot of A Lost Lady are not the came-out-of-nowhere type. Cather's characters are fascinating. And her descriptions of the natural world are actually interesting. Who knew? Other readers, of course. And now I do. I should have read Cather's novels years ago. Very glad that I finally read this one.

  • Ivan
    2019-03-23 08:31

    Una dama extraviada es un relato sobre el cambio. Del paso de una era dominada por la nobleza terrateniente dadivosa, como si de reyes se trataran, a los especuladores sin escrúpulos hechos a sí mismos e hijos de una época donde el que no se espabila y no recurre a lo ilegal, no consigue nada. También es un relato sobre el paso de la adolescencia a la adultez, donde todo nos es revelado tal y como es, sin el tamiz que aporta la ingenuidad y la candidez típicas de la juventud; cambios que se reflejan en las diferentes etapas por las que pasa la relación entre el joven Niel y la señora Forrester.En la contraportada de la edición de Alba Editorial se comenta cierto episodio entre Cather y Scott Fitzgerald, a propósito de la semejanza de esta obra y El gran Gatsby. Es cierto que comparten similitudes, pero la novela de Cather no está ni tan bien escrita como la de Fitzgerald, ni sus temas de fondo consiguen transmitirse de forma tan cristalina como en El gran Gatsby, ni los diálogos son tan sublimes, ni la relación que establecen Niel y la señora Forrester es tan magnética como la que establecen Carraway y Gatsby. La señora Forrester, el pilar de esta novela, no es ni tan profunda ni tan trágica como Gatsby.

  • Gertrude & Victoria
    2019-03-30 12:31

    A Lost Lady is both an outstanding portrait of transitional America as well as a character sketch of a pioneering woman in a small prairie town of the central plains: Mrs. Marian Forrester. Her husband is an aging older man, influential and wealthy, who made his fortune in the railroad business. She is a woman with charm, passion, and intelligence, admired by many in the rural town of Sweet Water. The story follows her life, a life seemingly of quiet satisfaction and steadfast loyalty, through the eyes of a young narrator who is attracted to her. Willa Cather prose is succint, lucid, and beautifully crafted. This work is almost on par with My Antonia. A great American classic. Should be read by all Americans.

  • Silvia Sirea
    2019-04-03 11:08

    Un mese fa ero in vacanza a Bologna - città che mi ha piacevolmente stupita - e, in un mercatino di libri usati, ho trovato Una signora perduta. Non avevo mai letto nulla di Willa Cather, ma, ricordando qualche bella recensione sull'autrice che avevo letto qui su Goodreads, ho deciso di comprarlo senza esitazioni. E, a lettura ultimata, posso affermare di aver fatto la cosa giusta.Le centoquaranta pagine di questo romanzo raccontano di una casa nel vecchio West e di una donna che lì vi dimora. E' una casa in collina, ai margini di un piccolo bosco e di terreni deserti interrotti da ruscelli di acqua gorgogliante. La donna è Mrs Forrester - moglie di un capitano appaltatore della ferrovia -, tremendamente affascinante e di una bellezza ammaliante.Casa Forrester è il luogo di ritrovo preferito dagli esponenti più in vista della regione e a tutti piace godere della compagnia della moglie del capitano, bella in modo spontaneo e disarmante, con la capacità di incantare chiunque la incontri.Il lettore conosce la protagonista attraverso gli occhi di Niel, un giovane uomo che da bambino giocava con i suoi coetanei nei pressi del ruscello di casa Forrester. Fin da bambino è sempre stato affascinato dalla risata e dai modi della donna, ma la maturità lo costringerà a guardare oltre la superficie ed è così che, attraverso le crepe, riuscirà a scorgere cosa giace dietro gli occhi brillanti e i lunghi capelli di lei, dietro la sua risata melodiosa e scrosciante come un ruscello.La prosa di Willa Cather rispecchia a tutti gli effetti il fascino della sua protagonista: è leggera, morbida e scorrevole. Le descrizioni degli ambienti sono luminose e poetiche e sembra quasi di sentire ogni più piccolo rumore che li identifica. I personaggi, anche quelli secondari, hanno una caratterizzazione decisa e difficile da dimenticare.Sono davvero impaziente di leggere altro di questa autrice che riesce, in così poche pagine, a farsi apprezzare. Quattro stelline e mezzo.

  • Erin
    2019-04-07 11:32

    This was one of those books that I felt was only okay while I was reading it, but when I finished it and started analyzing it, I really appreciated and enjoyed it. Cather is really growing on me as an author. I like her understated prose, and I like that her characters can simultaneously be symbols, yet vibrant and complex people that defy simple descriptions.Cather thought of this book as a character study, which is gutsy, as Marian is narrated almost entirely through other people (and men, at that). This isn't a book for people that have to love the hero/heroine. Marian is flawed, two-faced, and unfaithful to those who deserve her love the most. But she is vibrant, graceful, true (in her way, and when it matters most), and chooses to claim "life on any terms." She defies easy description, and I appreciate that in Cather.I also liked the tensions between the old west and the new, and what is gained and what is lost in the change. Also, the captain was a great character.Cather packs a lot of depth in a short number of pages. This isn't my favorite of hers (I LOVED Death Comes for the Archbishop), but it is a great classic for people that can't invest the time for a Tolstoy.

  • Becky
    2019-04-09 12:20

    The pity is that I was first introduced to Willa Cather while in grade school. She was force fed to me because, surprise-surprise, I grew up in Nebraska. It has taken me years to come back around and give her a fair shake.And yet, I still don't like this novel. Its an easy read, most of her works are. Thats not to say they are simple, just very aesthetic. She is a minimalist in her writing, and can do in a few short words what it takes other authors pages to do. Its her style, and she is marvellous at it.Still, A Lost Lady never grasped me. Neil annoyed me. I couldn't connect with the characters on any level, and I firmly believe that at least one character needs to by sympathetic. The characters also simply fell flat. Cather's characters usually remain understated, but passionatate, here however, they lacked her usual depth to me.I would recommend her other books, such as Oh! Pioneers, before this one. They are simply better, while this truly isn't the best representation of her work.

  • Laurie Notaro
    2019-04-07 10:10

    Wonderful character study. Not a happy book, but a reminder that even the noblest among us can be reduced under circumstances, particularly in the eyes of someone who has created a vision of a person who never really existed.

  • Sketchbook
    2019-03-26 13:15

    Willa Cather is the outstanding American writer of the 20thC. An insightful stylist, she penetrates the heart. Her themes : America gradually moves into the "modern world," and Americans painfully come to terms with life. Niel Herbert gets to know Mrs Forrester when he's 12 and she is in her 20s, married to a much older, kindly gent. He's dazzled. The story criss-crosses their lives and changing America. She suffers setbacks; he grows up and begins to understand the heartbreak of adult lives. As Mr Forrester said, "My philosophy is that what you plan for day by day -- you will get. Unless you are one of the people who get nothing in this world. There are such people." Many years later, in his 30s, Niel learns the fate of his "lost-lady."

  • Greg
    2019-03-23 14:16

    This is the first book I've read by Willa Cather. I liked most that every word counts, that Cather tells her story in a direct way. When I look at today's publications, I'm often mystified by 500+ page counts that seems to sale books. It's the quality that counts! And there must have been hundreds of thousands of American women during the "wild west" development with much the same story as in "A Lost Lady." . And how tough they were, how underestimated they were, how determined to survive and better their lives. You'd think, from 1960s TV westerns, the women were either prostitutes or dedicated housewives with no mind of their own. Not true!

  • Tom
    2019-04-16 13:18

    I continue to be amazed at the consistency of Willa Cather's work. As far as my favorite fiction writers go, only Flannery O'Connor comes close, but her published output is also significantly smaller than Cather's.This is the sixth of Cather's books that I've read, and I honestly only picked this one because it's short and I needed something I could breeze through after slogging through Faulkner's The Unvanquished (which isn't especially long itself). Cather's also been a reliable bet, and A Lost Lady didn't let me down. It's a classic portrayal of the changing American West as only Cather could give us, with her simple, beautiful language. I haven't read anyone quite like her, and I think she's an absolute delight.My only quibble is that the cover of my 1972 Vintage paperback shows a strawberry-blonde woman, so the couple of times Cather mentioned Marian Forrester's black hair threw me off. Still like the cover, though.

  • Ananya Ghosh
    2019-04-08 09:31

    This was a beautiful, beautiful book.A short, sweet read that is set in the American valley of a town called Sweetwater. Now, I'm not going to try to be precise since I'm not acquainted with the American geography but it is basically a tale of a phenomenal woman living in a laid back, rural American town.The book is narrated from the eyes of a young boy Neil Herbert who is enamoured by her beauty and nature, falls in and out of love with her and continues to think of and respect her until and after her death.This is a book with much earth-moving action but is a slow, leisurely tale driven by the characters, especially of Mrs Forrester, a beautiful, enigmatic woman with charms that arrest every eye that meets her. However, Cather undoes the image of divine beauty and exposes the vanities of this flawed character worshipped by Neil, the protagonist. It also paints a picture of a beautiful town growing and changing, modernising and becoming shrewd and is a great, great read if you are a person like me who likes these kinds of books. Highly recommended.

  • Alan
    2019-04-10 13:32

    A fabulous book.

  • Whitney
    2019-04-06 10:09

    Grabbed this paperback from a used bookstore. Very yellow, stiff, not a single crease. First blank leaf bears an inscription in greenish-blue ink:"To Eva— Even though you cannot be in the class, perhaps this book will give you some of the beauty of Willa Cather. —Jay, December 1979"Sorry, Jay, but it looks like Eva never laid her hands on your recommendation. Now, I enthusiastically love the idea of giving books as presents, but in this scenario I'm siding with Eva for not reading it. Condescending inscriptions are deal breakers.As for this novel, I am also siding with the lady, who supposedly becomes "Lost," according to the besotted narrator, a young man named Niel. Throughout the years contained in this book, chivalrous Niel insists on referring to the lady by her married name: Mrs. Forrester. She is married to a Captain Forrester who is 20-something years older than she is. But despite the age difference, Mrs. Forrester loves her life in the little midwestern whistle-stop town. She is kind and patient with her husband; she asks her servant to make cookies for the gang of boys who like to ramble and fish on the estate lands; she hosts little get-togethers when important people stop by the town.The first chapter of the book contains extremely heavy foreshadowing. Even I caught the intended meaning and I haven't thought about foreshadowing since my teen years. Into the nice gang of boys walks the "mean boy"—one called "Ivy" Peters. He is called "Ivy" to signify "Poison Ivy," and no, not because he becomes a villain in a Batman movie. It's because he makes a hobby of poisoning the neighborhood pets. He carries a little tool bag full of knives so he can cut apart birds and other creatures. This boy is a future serial killer, okay?So naturally, Ivy comes back in the second half of the book and fucks with our narrator's world view.And because Willa Cather had her agenda, our narrator assigns the blame to Mrs. Forrester, who essentially is just trying to survive, all moral scruples aside.One way to interpret this is to question the double-sided sword of chivalry. It's not unlike the religion that endorses the wearing of burkas. If a woman is attacked by a man, and even if she is covered head to foot in heavy black material, she HAD to be doing something wrong in there; otherwise she wouldn't have provoked the helpless man into action . . . Ug.And not to put too fine a point on this book's "situation," but it looks like Niel totally has a chance with Mrs. Forrester. But he has to keep her up on her pedestal until someone else drags her down, and he is just clueless. Good ol' chivalry. It would rather see a woman burn alive than survive.

  • David Stephens
    2019-04-12 15:30

    A Lost Lady contains two prominent parallel narratives. The first is that of Niel Herbert, a young boy from Sweet Water, Nebraska whose vision of the world changes as he reaches his twenties. He initially has a romanticized view of Mrs. Forrester, a pretty young aristocrat in town, but eventually, his feelings toward her shift and become much more complex once he discovers her flaws.Niel's narrative of disillusionment corresponds to the narrative of America. The country was still young throughout the nineteenth century, and as it changed into something different while entering the twentieth, many Americans saw a previous nobility giving way to greed.Of course, in both cases, the ideal that was believed in was a false one. Mrs. Forrester was never quite the charming, elegant, and good-natured housewife she was thought to be. She had always clung to wealth and hidden her vulnerability and pettiness behind it. As soon as her husband loses most of his wealth, her real self becomes more visible. She, then, seems more pathetic than graceful.Likewise, America was never a completely noble country devoid of greed or cruelty. Even Captain Forrester, the symbol for an old world nobility and a seemingly beneficent citizen, provides glimpses into his own thinking that shatter this myth. He complains that the new generation of business men are all greedy and unscrupulous, ready to destroy the land to make a profit. However, during the story he tells of establishing his own home in Sweet Water, he admits—however discreetly—to taking over the land of the Native Americans. Also, his philosophy of making dreams come true quite overtly points out how some people will never achieve their dreams. He quickly skips over this depressing aspect of the lower classes and moves back to the prosperous citizens who will be able to revel in their accomplishments.My description here may give an oversimplified account of things. This is not a simple tale of people growing up and slowly realizing that life is not fair. It digs much deeper into the myths people create around themselves and asks where our place inside or outside those myths might be. The book is rich enough in symbolism to cover individual, communal, and national discord. Essentially, it is a complex tale wrapped in an austere, realistic one.

  • Nathan
    2019-03-26 13:17

    "Thirty or forty years ago, in one of those grey towns along the Burlington railroad, which are so much greyer today than they were then, there was a house well known from Omaha to Denver for its hospitality and for a certain charm of atmosphere."Mm. I knew from the very first sentence that I was going to enjoy this book. Cather’s writing is a delight throughout. Her prose is simple, direct, elegant, evocative.I went into the book knowing next to nothing about it—something I rarely do—and found that made for an extremely freeing experience. The story takes place near the end of America’s great push west, as the old pioneers are gradually giving way to a generation of young men who take life on the Great Plains for granted. This is a subject about which Cather was very passionate, and on which she touches numerous times over the course of the novella, but her scope here is much narrower than that. Mostly, A Lost Lady is a character study. It is an examination of Marian Forrester, the young wife of one of those old pioneers, as seen through the eyes of young Niel Herbert.Cather, to say the least, does an eerily good job of writing from a young man’s point of view. Few female authors have captured the male psyche this well. (Daphne du Maurier, in My Cousin Rachel, is the only name that comes to mind at the moment.) I personally saw quite a lot of myself in Niel.But it is not Niel, finally, that this story is about. When I was halfway through the book, I told my grandmother I was reading it. Her comment was, “Oh, that Mrs. Forester, she’s such a … nice lady, isn’t she?”I was shocked. “Nice” is not exactly the word I would use to describe the old railway man’s wife. Fickle, manipulative, shallow, false? Yes. Strong, independent, charming, loyal? Yes, all those as well. She is a tremendously complex character, the kind one cannot exactly put one’s finger on. And those are, of course, the very best kind.I cannot say I was wowed by A Lost Lady, but then, I don’t think that was Cather’s intention. It is a book of modest pretensions, beautifully executed. Because of the quality of the writing, and the fact that it is a short and easy read, this gets a solid recommendation from me; Cather, meanwhile, has moved to the top of my list of American authors whose works I wish to explore.

  • Caitlin Granger
    2019-03-31 14:17

    I had to read this book for AP English Lit.. I never heard of Willa Cather before this. The writing is very easy to read and dive into, which I enjoyed. However, I really did not care for any of the characters and frankly I felt like this book was enforcing traditional gender roles. Maybe I misinterpreted the book... but I'm sure my AP teacher will discuss this book when school rolls around. Until then, I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. I didn't really Mrs. Forrester... I felt like she needed a rich husband for her to be "her best." The book is probably focusing on just Mrs. Forrester and not implying that all women in general need rich husbands to live happy lives. And even if Willa Cather was implying that... times have changed and everyone knows that is complete CRAP. I also enjoyed Cather's imagery and descriptions which helped me picture the story clearly. I'll probably reread this when school comes but I don't really want to.. but who knows my thoughts might change.

  • Sara
    2019-04-09 13:16

    Bel romanzo che però per la sua brevità non sono riuscita a gustare appieno. Molti temi purtroppo vengono solo accennati (come l'attaccamento alla propria terra e ai valori di un'era, quella pionieristica, che sta per lasciare il posto a quella industriale), e personalmente avrei preferito che il romanzo fosse decisamente più ricco e approfondito, ma la scrittura della Cather è evocativa e carica di simbolismo, e il libro si fa leggere comunque con piacere.

  • MadelineM
    2019-03-26 10:10

    “He had seen the end of an era, the sunset of the pioneer. He had come upon it when already its glory was nearly spent."“but she had always the power of suggesting things much lovelier than herself, as the perfume of a single flower may call up the whole sweetness of spring”I was surprised I liked this book as much as I did. A good, quick & moving read!

  • Petra
    2019-03-29 10:13

    Willa Cather does it again. I really enjoyed this story. Willa Cather's descriptions of small town life and characters are superb. The way that Niel views Mrs. Forrester and the change from small town to capitalistic ways over the years is an interesting parallel.

  • Brian
    2019-04-05 09:34

    The first Willa Cather novel I read was "O Pioneers!" for a college course and was introduced to Alexandra Bergson, an extremely strong-willed woman who takes the land and family that she has been left in Nebraska and works to make a success of both. "A Lost Lady" gives us Marian Forrester, a woman who has married (and loves) a man many years her senior, enjoys the attention of rogues and scoundrels, and relishes in the infatuated dreams of many young men. Cather created two women of such distinctly opposing character, and both novels are brilliantly written.

  • Renata Shura
    2019-04-11 09:18

    A rather sad look at a woman who truly does not know herself or what she wants out of life...