Monday, 19 March 2012

Book #26 Death Comes For The Archbishop by Willa Cather

Death Comes For The Archbishop

Last year I read and very much enjoyed 'My Antonia' and 'O, Pioneers' by Willa Cather, two novels about frontier farming communities in early America. Death Comes For The Archbishop is again historically placed within America's early years as a nation, this time from the perspective of two Catholic priests who are sent out to minister to the community of New Mexico an eclectic mix of White Americans, Native Americans and Mexican immigrants.

The tale of Bishop De La Tour and his curate Father Vaillant is told episodically. One chapter will deal with a wealthy couple supportive of the church, another with an abused wife, another with dealings with the Native American community.

Overarching this is friendship of the two priests themselves, who in many ways only have each other.

The pace of the book is more meditative than slow, with good portraits of situations and people. I think that it gives a good idea of what it might be like to be a priest. Which as Willa Cather was not one, is an achievement.

The book is fairly short, so there's not a lot to say about it, except I found it poetic and enjoyed the experience of that era and of reading it. 7/10   

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