My Antonia by Willa Cather
Though I loved Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, for some reason I was ducking My Antonia. (I think I thought it would be treacly.) But when my book club added it to our list, I was stuck reading it – and ended up enjoying it immensely. The narrator recalls his childhood friendship with – and later estrangement from – Antonia, a girl from a nearby farm. The honesty of his feelings makes this novel stand out. The thing that particularly surprised me is that I found myself feeling nostalgic for a time and place I never knew. Cather has a way of evoking the harsh truth while making it beautiful.