By Willa Cather
A ruined attractiveness whose dignity has suffered a life of loss and disenchantment. A Czech immigrant who reveals a paradoxical contentment at the harsh expanse of the Nebraska prairie. A solitary younger painter spying raptly and guiltily on his beautiful neighbor. those are a few of the lives that Willa Cather renders, with an exceptional stability of compassion and detachment, in those nineteen tales.
listed here are the good subject matters that Cather staked out like tracts of land: the plight of individuals hungry for good looks in a rustic that has no room for it; the mysterious arc of human lives; the ways that the yankee frontier reworked the strangers who got here to it, turning them imperceptibly into americans. In those fictions, Cather screens her immense ethical imaginative and prescient, her unerring experience of position, and her skill to discover the only element or episode that makes a closed lifestyles open extensive in one exhilarating second.
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Additional info for Collected Stories
They’re coming. Don’t worry. ” Lefty sat down on the suitcase beside her. Their shoulders touched. Desdemona moved away. ” He looked at Desdemona, puzzled, but then his expression softened and he put his arm around her. She stiffened. ” He stood up again. ” “Don’t go,” Desdemona pleaded. “I’m sorry. ” But Lefty had stormed off. He left the quay and wandered the city streets, muttering to himself. He was angry with Desdemona for rebuffing him and he was angry at himself for being angry at her, because he knew she was right.
Not one mouth uttered a sound as the realization came home that their own country had deserted them, that Smyrna now had no government, that there was nothing between them and the advancing Turks. (And did I mention how in summer the streets of Smyrna were lined with baskets of rose petals? And how everyone in the city could speak French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, English, and Dutch? And did I tell you about the famous figs, brought in by camel caravan and dumped onto the ground, huge piles of pulpy fruit lying in the dirt, with dirty women steeping them in salt water and children squatting to defecate behind the clusters?
They watched his dealing more closely, mistaking his clumsiness for a cardsharp’s sleight of hand. ” But when nothing happened, he looked up and saw again how truly deserted the Casinwas, and the sight brought home to him the high stakes they were playing for. Life. ” They nearly killed him. Lefty’s pockets bulged with winnings, and the men insisted he couldn’t leave without giving them a chance to win some of it back. ” He sat down, scratching his other leg, and thereafter started losing again and again.