So, the first book I’ve decided to read for this book blog is Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop.
I just want to start off by saying this may, or may not have been, a bad choice.
Do not get me wrong here people, I loves me some Willa. O Pioneers!? My Antonia? Those both equal LOVE in my heart. I mean, after My Antonia I thought about having a child, praying it was a girl, and naming her Antonia [those crazy ideas have since passed though, thank goodness]. And O Pioneers! O how awesome a read it was! I won’t really spoil it for anyone but when there was a death in the book, it was so tragically awful and beautiful that I cried. I cried like a baby.
But now, here I am reading Death Comes for the Archbishop, and I am finding myself unmoved. I am halfway through it, so good things could be coming around the corner, but for now I am ho-humming my way through the pages. Here is basically what the book is all about thus far: So there is a Bishop, who is given territory for his ministry in New Mexico after the United States acquires it in the 19th century. In the very beginning he gets lost, he finds a tiny town, he finds his way to Santa Fe, he rides a horse. He rides a horse some more. Then there is more horse riding to be had. I mean really, that’s basically all I’ve read about - how this Bishop Latour and his right hand man, Father Valliant, ride around the countryside visiting different priests in different towns. There is a lot of talk about Indians [aka Native Americans], and the Bishop becomes semi-friends with this Indian Boy who guides him around.
Not too much of a plot yet, right? And I’m already halfway in.
But, I might have a reason for being a little apprehensive about Ms. Cather’s work. This book - about a Bishop who is wandering around talking about cloisters and archways, and all sorts of stupid church related architecture - is making me have flashbacks to Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, which I just finished a couple of weeks ago. Have you SEEN the size of that book? I’m ok with big books. They don’t scare me. But when 95% of the story is about cloisters and archways and pillars… it gets old. So now I am in the world of Bishops, and wandering around, and churches again.
My. Brain. Can’t. Take. It.
This is why I say perhaps Death Comes for the Archbishop may have been a bad choice. I am still captivated by Cather’s ability to so poetically describe the landscape, giving it a life of its own – as if it is also a character in the book. The only thing I am missing so far in this novel, compared to the other works I have read by Cather, is a compassionate feeling. So far, Father Latour and his horse could fall over in a ditch in New Mexico, and I probably wouldn’t care.
I’m hoping something is going to change, draw me in a little more… but only time will tell.
So, on to reading!