I scoured my local library for any of Willa Cather‘s books recently. I had this idea that I’d read one during highschool and wanted to reread it. Well, I found the books, but apparently I had the author mixed up. I decided to read one anyway since I have never read anything she wrote.
The book I chose is called Obscure Destinies. It contains three short stories. I’ll confess that I chose this book because I wouldn’t have to read the whole thing if I didn’t like the first story. The title itself is rather intriguing. What destiny worth writing about is obscure?
I soon discovered the title came from her characters. They were not rich and famous. Two of the three stories dealt with elderly people and their relationships with their families up to the point of their deaths. Her characters are beautifully crafted, warm and very personal. I cried when Rosicky died in Neighbor Rosicky even though I was pleased as punch at his discovery before he died.
In a world where fiction is now driven by fast paced action and quite a bit of fantasy, Obscure Destinies stands apart. Much like its name, it is probably gathering dust wherever it exists. This is a shame. While the stories are not driven by action, they do unfold around characters living their everyday life. Through her strong writing, the characters pull you in and feel like someone you would love to know in real life. I wish I had a neighbor like Rosicky.
Willa Cather was an amazing author. I can’t believe that at least one of her books is not required reading in American Literature in highschool. I will be reading as many of her books as I can find if they are all as good as Obscure Destinies.
I do not recall any bad language. Sexual content never entered the narrative. This book is definitely worth reading and rereading.