Next Up: Death Comes For The Archbishop
I think so. This will be my first western since the unforgettable Blood Meridian.
In what seems to be a recurring theme lately, I’m not familiar with Death Comes For The Archbishop. Or, sadly, with Willa Cather. The novel is about the attempts of a Catholic bishop and priest to set up a diocese in New Mexico Territory. Doesn’t sound too riveting, but we’ll see.
A few facts:
- Published in 1927, Death Comes For The Archbishop is one of the oldest novels on the Time list.
- The Western Writers of America selected the novel as the 7th best Western novel of the 20th century.
- The story is based on the life of Jean-Baptiste Lamy.
- The author, Willa Cather, was awarded the Pulitzer in 1923 for One of Ours.
- Cather also is famous for having written O Pioneers!, My Antonia, and The Song of the Lark.
What did Time say?
The style and structure of this book are strange, unemphatic, as if Cather had simply laid the scenes side by side in a tapestry. She compared the book to a legend, in which no event is given much dramatic weight. If this sounds like a formula for boredom, it’s not. Her serene language, with its immemorial simplicity, gives the story a weight mere drama could never provide.
Supposedly, this novel is light on plot. As a fan of plot, I’m not sure how much I’m going to like this one. But I’ll do my best to keep an open mind.
I really have zero expectations with Death Comes For The Archbishop because I know so little about it.
Have you read this book?