Review: "My Mortal Enemy" by Willa Cather

My Mortal
by Willa Cather
pages 90 

"Sometimes, when I have watched the bright beginning of a love story, when I have seen a common feeling exalted into beauty by imagination, generosity, and the flaming courage of youth, I have heard again that strange complaint breathed by a dying woman into the stillness of night, like a confession of the soul: 'Why must I die like this, alone with my mortal enemy.'"

Willa Cather's protagonist in My Mortal Enemy is Myra Henshawe, who as a young woman gave up a fortune to marry for love—a boldly romantic gesture that became a legend in her family. But this worldly, sarcastic, and perhaps even wicked woman may have been made for something greater than love.

In her portrait of Myra and in her exquisitely nuanced depiction of her marriage, Cather shows the evolution of a human spirit as it comes to bridle against the constraints of ordinary happiness and seek an otherworldly fulfillment. 
My Mortal Enemy is a work whose drama and intensely moral imagination make it unforgettable.

I already knew Willa Cather, for that famous and precious novel (so much she won the renowned Pulitzer Prize) that was "One of Ours" but I did not know anything about this novel, which, though initially underestimated by numbers of pages and intent is revealed to be a true masterpiece of reflection on love and its duration over time.

"My Deadly Enemy" is a novel that reveals much of the female soul and the strength of the soul that women keep in their hearts, and revealing, at the same time, they own fragility.

Cather, with this novel, shows us how Myra Driscoll, a young woman destined to inherit a real fortune, instead chooses to marry, against the grandfather's opinion, a man considered without perspectives that would only make her poor and unhappy. Myra chooses to follow her hear and refuse as much as her grandfather had suggested to her, the money ... so she ran away with her beloved Oswald in New York to build a new life together, without money because she was disenchanted by her grandfather, who did not leave them a cent.

We read the story always from the eyes of a little girl named Nellie, who knows the Henshawe when they return for the first time in the country where they met and loved (and where Myra lived with his grandfather in his huge and legendary house) - long after the escape and the wedding; Nellie see them a second time a few years later in their New York apartment, surrounded by literate, poets and artists of all kinds until they met them for the last time many years more later - always from the point of view of a Nellie (but now grown up) - in a small village of the american West Coast, now old and without a penny, forced to live in an apartment that they hate and where they live miserably.

Regardless of the fate of the protagonists, which I let you discover (otherwise I would ruin the proper suspension that Cather creates skillfully) by reading the novel, such as feeling and love (the true, intense, leading you to madness)  in its mutation over time.

Will that passionate love endure?
Will one of its protagonists a unique life?
Will you truly lead the happiness the two lovers promise to achieve?
Will the lovers of the best people do?

Cather, with "My Deadly Enemy", wants to focus on how a woman in love and willingly dispossessed for the sake of life, abandon everything for the happiness found in that love, almost recklessly, grandparent's warning, that having met both poverty and old age - and became shamelessly rich - he had recommended choosing money and economic security rather than the actuality (or anyway) of happiness of love.

Myra, meeting several times with Nellie, always looks like a brilliant, vital, intelligent, shocking, ironic, jovial and apparently never bitter to the choice made, but with time Nellie also knows the least pleasurable aspects, discovering it jealous, against her husband), selfish and with the conviction of living economically as if she were rich. Oswald seems desolate, good, cautious and remissive of his wife, so that he almost never reacts to its nuances (but still sensitive to the compliments and worries of younger women). The two, though having the merits and defects that emerge more markedly at each encounter with Nellie, appeared as a couple who love themselves, despite the bists resisting time and economic storms remaining united.

But when Nellie starts collecting Myra's confessions, she becomes older and becomes more compliant with her health condition, but also economic and social, she realizes things that undermine her knowledge of the couple. Myra infatuation is badly endured by her poverty, and even if she does not say openly, she blames her choice (even not her husband directly) for her wrong. Myra has always helped people in distress and rising artists, she has always had a lot of friends to talk and have fun in the golden age, but now, confined to the bed of a studio and forced to endure noisy neighbors (they drive she crazy) she feels lost and now agrees with his grandfather, but he can no longer change his fate.

And it's just when the disease gets worse with her, and her most rebellious (sometimes even more violent and impetuous) soul comes out that leaves the reader the phrases that persecute me in thinking. Because Myra fights with that love, that crazy passion that now sings with her, causing her a pain she would never have imagined ... to call her "my deadly enemy." And while Oswald lives in the memory of a brave young Myra, full of hopes and vitality, Myra abandons any certainty, even goes away from the Church (and then returns with the soul of a naufray in the storm) and discovers in his nemesis what he believed to be his strength. And it all starts to crash and collapse under the blows of rage and regret.

"My mortal enemy" perfectly encapsulates all the work that faces as "forever" does not lead to constant happiness and sentimental and economic bliss. Explain in a few words how (for charity, sometimes) love with capital L - the one for which we feel the feeling of leaving behind important things and which we believe may not be at that moment - let us give up discounts for the future , security that we would find ridiculed later. Because love is an important feeling that makes us good, makes us strong ... we would last forever (as it is) and we would also like to change our condition by dragging us into the most complete happiness but sometimes, as in this case, unfortunately, it collides strongly with everyday life, the economic needs and the imperatives of illness and old age. And then perfection is chipped by necessity, need, and change, but not as we would like. What do we become then? Who blames?

Willa Cather with this story takes away the veil of "the fairy" tale for a moment, of love, and tells us that sometimes love - the pure and totalizing - is not always destined to be realized in the formula of "happy and forever" but consumes, transforms itself and changes, transforming also the protagonists of that love. Love is joy, passion, strength, happiness, union, but it can transform and be able to destroy, to change in anger, regret and even become ... our greatest enemy.

"My Deadly Enemy," in 90 pages, is able to get you under your skin and make you shiver for the power and strength he is capable of. It left me shaken and in a sense more aware of the nuances of a feeling that too often is overlooked and perhaps not enough. This novel is to be read.

Willa Cather
Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Back Creek Valley (Gore), Virginia, in December 7, 1873. Her novels on frontier life brought her to national recognition. In 1923 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, One of Ours (1922), set during World War I. She grew up in Virginia and Nebraska. She then attended the University of Nebraska, initially planning to become a physician, but after writing an article for the Nebraska State Journal, she became a regular contributor to this journal. Because of this, she changed her major and graduated with a bachelor's degree in English. After graduation in 1894, she worked in Pittsburgh as writer for various publications and as a school teacher for approximately 13 years, thereafter moving to New York City for the remainder of her life. She traveled widely and often spent summers in New Brunswick, Canada. In later life, she experienced much negative criticism for her conservative politics and became reclusive, burning some of her letters and personal papers, including her last manuscript. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1943. In 1944, Cather received the gold medal for fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an award given once a decade for an author's total accomplishments. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 73 in New York City.

A une distance les mots mordent ...

... When a walk leads 
to a new Perspective ...

I've been away from this little personal space too long, but things lead me to other things, and life goes on without realizing it ... in a few words, I found myself away from this place more than I wanted.
--The other day, walking the streets, while a thunderstorm cut through the air, I was looking for shelter from the claws of the lightning that discharge on the ground their powerful rage, and I thought that I wanted to go away for a while. I have already experienced how good is get away from things, try themselves in faraway places and ... I must say that it has always done well - occasionally - is necessary for me.

Do you never had this feeling? 
 Did you never feel the desire to escape? 
Ever you bolted away from yourself? 

If this had not happened ... I hope to you. I hope that, at least, once in a while you can experience that feeling ... to stop everyday routin, see yourselves from outside, analyze your lives and come back with a clear mind and full of new ideas, fresh prospetive and heavy with that awareness that leads the heart to a new maturity, greater self-confidence and identity.

I love walking under the thunderstorm, look around for a rainy day, see swell clouds, look for the rainbow in a storm and then warm up with sunlight that follows the rain. Is beautiful and satisfying to search the unknown in the midst of what I look hundreds of times, but without really looking, seeing something totally new and decisive.
--This I felt to tell you today, also in view of the possibility of created from vacation escape ... try to run away and then come back and see everything in a new perspective!



Est-ce que je peux t’inviter boire un café?

I thought many times about what, actually, reading is for me.

I thought that sometime was a nice pastime, some other time was something that taught me a couple of things about faraway places, new cultures or that plunged me into extraordinary stories.
In fact, thinking about a little bit of, I believe that reading was a true friend, a good companion who followed me for roads that, otherwise, it would be difficult path, for me, having neither the ability, nor the knowledge to do so.

Everything concerning the reading still fascinates me terribly and I believe, and hope, that this appeal will always innovate, never run out or diminish at all, even if at some point the age and powers, probably, will hinder the way ...

Have you ever thought seriously about the reading has influenced your life, your choices, proposing ways and scenarios that you thought not to be possible or even conceivable?
It made you more courageous about your feelings on something or someone?

The reading has allowed you to understand something new about yourself?
... Or maybe it was not anything like this, after all?
I have not found courage to action, but in a way I found spur to some of my principles, they found lymph and support thinkers and writers who have taught me to build royalties and personal rules, moral principles on a solid foundation and understanding human nature (but much I miss about).
I also found the comprehension of new ideas, new concepts and types of expressions and feelings, even if you still do not fully understand, I learned there.
The printed page certainly does not replace the word, discussions, and the perception that you have with real people, but it's good substitute if the good company languish, here is ...
You do not find?

Il pleut sur mon cœur ...

It 's cold and winter has brought with it the seasonal's illness. But it is also true that if the winter has many faces negative, it has also very positive. Which one? First ... it's my favorite time of year. Second, the winter gives me the opportunity to read quiet and calm on the couch, at home, without making me feel guilty of this and without the anxiety to hear wasted the sun's rays that fall on the ground. Because - in the end - it's too cold to do anything ...

So ... I read ... a lot... and below there are the books that I love much:

 And Only
 to Deceive
by Tasha Alexander
321 pages
William Morrow
My opinion:

"Lady Emily series"

01. And Only to Deceive
02. A Poisoned Season
03. A Fatal Waltz
3.5. Emily and Colin’s Wedding: A Tears of Pearl Prequel Story
04. Tears of Pearl
05. Dangerous to Know
06. A Crimson Warning
07. Death in the Floating City
08. Behind the Shattered Glass
09. The Counterfeit Heiress
9.5. Star of the East
10. The Adventuress
10.5.That Silent Night: A Lady Emily Christmas Story
11. A Terrible Beauty  
Emily agreed to wed Philip, the Viscount Ashton, primarily to escape her overbearing mother. Philip's death while on safari soon after their wedding left Emily feeling little grief, for she barely knew the dashing stranger.  
But her discovery of his journals nearly two years later reveals a far different man than she imagined-a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who apparently loved his new wife deeply. Emily's desire to learn more about her late husband leads her through the quiet corners of the British Museum and into a dangerous mystery involving rare stolen artifacts. 
To complicate matters, she juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond matrimony into darker realms

Tasha Alexander is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Emily series and the novel ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE. She attended the University of Notre Dame, where she studied English and Medieval History. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She and her husband, novelist Andrew Grant, divide their time between Chicago and the UK.



 Up at
Butternut Lake
by Mary Mc Near
384 pages
William Morrow
"The Butternut Lake Trilogy"

01. Up at Butternut Lake
02. Butternut Summer
03. The Night Before Christmas
3.5. Moonlight on Butternut Lake: A Novel  
In the spirit of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, comes this debut novel-the first in an unforgettable new series by Mary McNear

It's been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she's returned with her five-year-old son.
There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn't count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford.
Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.
Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake….
Mary McNear is the author of the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Up at Butternut Lake, published by HarperCollins. Up at Butternut Lake was the first book in the Butternut Lake series. The second Book, Butternut Summer, is now available. The third novel in the Butternut Lake trilogy, Moonlight on Butternut Lake, will be published in May 2015. A novella, Butternut Lake: The Night Before Christmas, was available in ebook form on December 9, 2014. The third book in the series, Moonlight on Butternut Lake, was published in May 2015. The fourth Butternut Lake novel, The Space Between Sisters, is due out June 2016.
Mary McNear lives in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels at a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest. She can be found on Facebook at MaryMcNearAuthor

Someone say it is blu, someone say it is gold ...

Sometimes is better change point of view.

No Other way.

These days something goes wrong ... I really don't know waht in particulary, but I throwed my mind away in some dark place and I can't come back in the daylight.

I read something, and saw something that disturbed me very much. Now I try to climb the slope, but is a long  process that want a price from me: time.

In the meantime I've read a lot of books and I bought a lot of books, too.  I want to read one of them with more curiosity : "Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah

Do you want to see the book with me?

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.



by Kristin Hannah
pages 440
price $27.99
Audiobook $44.99
St. Martin's Press

France, 1939.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

--o Opinions o-- 

“I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.” Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

“In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling.” Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel―built on Kristin Hannah’s proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion―one that will captivate readers.” Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness

“I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative….Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had--in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar” ―too often to make ‘choiceless choices.'" –Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute

“A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations―not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit.” ―Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including Winter Garden, True Colors, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane.
Her novel Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached direct.
Kristin’s next release is the highly anticipated The Nightingale, which will be in stores on February 3, 2015.  
Kristin was born in September 1960 in Southern California and grew up at the beach, making sand castles and playing in the surf. When she was eight years old, her father drove the family to Western Washington which they called home.
After working in a trendy advertising agency, Kristin decided to go to law school. "But you're going to be a writer" are the prophetic words she would never forget from her mother. Kristin was in her third-and final-year of law school and her mom was in the hospital, facing the end of her long battle with cancer. Kristin was shocked to discover that her mother believed she would become a writer. For the next few months, they collaborated on a novel.  After her mom's death, she packed up all those bits and pieces of paper and research they'd collected and put them in a box in the back of her closet. Kristin got married and continued practicing law.
Then Kristin found out she was pregnant and was on bed rest for five months. By the time she'd read every book in the house and started asking her husband for cereal boxes to read, she knew she was a goner. That's when her husband reminded her of the book she'd started with her mom. Kristin pulled out the boxes of research material, dusted them off and began writing. By the time their son was born, she'd finished a first draft and found an obsession.
The rejections came, of course, and they stung for a while, but each one really just spurred her to try harder, work more. In 1990, Kristin got "the call," and in that moment, she went from a young mother with a cooler-than-average hobby to a professional writer, and has never looked back. In all the years between then and now, she has never lost her love of, or her enthusiasm for, telling stories. Kristin feels truly blessed to be a wife, a mother, and a writer.  Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together.

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