Set against a backdrop of the Nebraska prairie in the 1880s, My Antonia tells the story of the intermingled lives of newly settled immigrants and established residents in a small frontier town.
Antonia Shimerda and her family arrive from Bohemia and, even though they are not really fitted for the rough challenge, begin to carve out a living from the land by farming and homesteading. Almost immediately they are swindled, then battered by the brutal Nebraska winter -- but these are just the first of many difficulties they will have to face.
The Shimerdas are befriended by the Burdens, whose orphaned grandson, Jim, is the book's narrator. Jim's ever-changing relationship with the warm, passionate Antonia forms the heart of the story. Their coming of age -- and the changes in ,those around them -- reveal how much character can matter in the shaping of one's destiny.
With keen insight and evocative, colorful prose, Willa Lather weaves her tale of the residents of Black Hawk, Nebraska. She fills her canvas with acutely observed detail, portraying a landscape where nature and human nature clash and flourish -- where life's lessons are learned in full and its participants enriched.