Friday, October 19, 2007

Death Comes for the Archbishop

Willa Cather is one of my favorite writers. I forget how beautiful her writing is in between books, and it always delights me when I rediscover it. This one has definitely spurred my interest in the history of New Mexico and the clashing of Spanish, native, and American cultures. I find myself thinking of Cormac McCarthy and his perspective on these "clashes" in Blood Meridian. Obviously, he renders the violence in much more gut-wrenching terms than Cather does, and she actually finds humane and genuinely good men -- Father Latour, Father Vaillant, the young Indian Jacinto, and Kit Carson -- among the killers, rascals, and cheats. One thing these writers do have in common is their ability to evoke the natural beauty, mystery, and majesty of the southwestern landscape. I'm just a bit over half way through, but it's such a wonderful book to enter into autumn with.

I think next may be James Salter, and I'm also planning to read The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, considered to be one of the greatest Italian novels.