Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reflections: A Lost Lady

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Willa Cather's A Lost Lady:

"In terms of entertainment, subtlety is mostly a vestige of the past.  I have pondered before on what a film like Citizen Kane would look like if it were made today.  A Lost Lady by Willa Cather is a book that would have a hard time being written today.  It is indeed subtle.  In fact, during the initial introduction of the characters, one needs to pay especially close attention to the subtleties exhibited in order to enjoy the conclusion and pay-off the book offers.

As the title of the book suggests, the focus of the book is the main female character—Marian Forrester.  She is, however, not the protagonist through which the audience witnesses the narrative.  Niel Herbert is the main character through which the audience experiences most of the story; although, there are some interesting breaks from his point of view.  This point of view helps the narrative a great deal, in my opinion, since this gives the audience more latitude to examine and even judge Mrs. Forrester for what they think she is and is not.  Readers of the book will come to slightly different conclusions regarding Mrs. Forrester and her character or lack thereof.

The biggest problem with A Lost Lady is its finding an audience.  I'm not sure too many people would be too interested to read it.  It's an obscure book from an obscure author.  (I'm told Willa Cather is supposedly well-known in literary circles; obviously I'm not a part of those circles).  Yet, the longer I've thought about A Lost Lady the more I've liked it.  I hope it finds an audience, even if it's a small one.

A Lost Lady is a good book.  It's not an exhibition of staggering genius, but it does provide enough to chew on and debate.  I was very unsure of the book's quality when I initially started reading, but I quickly found myself enjoying it.  It's worth reading."


  1. Willa Cather is one of the greatest female authors of the American literary scene. She is dead. The book was published long before 50 Shades of Gray, back when lovely writing was appreciated.

    1. Back when "lovely writing was appreciated" indeed. And it's not that there is a lack of romantic intrigue. It's just done, in my opinion, in a far more compelling way.