My Antonia / Heaven’s Gate / a good book

By on November 28, 2009 in AmStuff

After rather miserably finishing off our look at The Waste Land this Thursday, it was good to move swiftly on to My Antonia by Willa Cather. What a great book, we are already with Jim Burden arriving after a few lines  at the remote railway station of Black Hawk and off into the lives of the immigrants to Nebraska. Antonia is an unforgettable woman; the writing is unforgettable and passes my test of taking your breath away every so often. After a reading of any of this book I always want to, and often do, go to the DVD of Michael Cimino‘s Heaven’s Gate and watch again all the scenes of the Bohemian immigrants, their struggles, their fun times and their magnificent battle with the landowner’s hired army.  The film has had a poor reputation which is still only partly improved with time, but I love it for its many aspects of good film making and, of course, it takes me, like My Antonia, to a part of America I have yet to see for real. It’s set in Wyoming not Nebraska, but that doesn’t matter. What’s not to like about Kris Kristofferson, Isabelle Huppert, Christopher Walken  and Jeff Bridges; and it even has T-Bone Burnett running the band at the roller-skate dance. And it’s a very ‘brown’ film which is what my son calls all the movies I like. His book has been reviewed from one Marxist perspective.

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