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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Sunday 26 October 2008

Willa Cather

October 26, 2008

by Suzan Abrams

With Christmas perceptions to make of them what I will, there's nothing quite as festive as a spontaneous sackful of reads that pounces on the waiting spirit, with its ready shimmers of tinsel and wine.

An apt Chistmas discovery for me is Pulitzer Prize winner, the once-industrious short-story writer & novelist Willa Cather who writes on
The Burglar's Christmas with a tearful gut. The tale of a prodigal son who unintentionally returns home to rob his own mother in Chicago but ends up buried in her arms near the fireplace, is as heartwarming as The Waltons and with insights that swirl and swell as deep as a ghostly well.

I was dismayed that while having tasted an outstanding success and popularity, Willa Cather would inadverdently be booed by rising Marxist critics who dismissed the romanticism that signified her stories, as fluff.

However, the brave Cather would continue to manage a successful writing career until her death in 1947, when she ordered all her letters burnt.

I was promptly rewarded with 2 arresting writing techniques from her story:

He sank into the depths of the big leather chair with the lions' heads on the arms, where he had sat so often in the days when his feet did not touch the floor and he was half afraid of the grim monsters cut in the polished wood.
(what subtle detailing to define a story's excellence) &

the memory of them was heavy and flat, like cigarette smoke that has been shut in a room all night, like champagne that has been a day opened, a song that has been too often sung, an acute sensation that has been overstrained.
(an attractive creative ordinance to the use of images)