Having always loved the novels of and revered the work of Willa Cather, I was delighted to discover that Ms. Cather's short stories are just as good as her novels. I have spent the summer swimming in the deep pool of Willa Cather's thoughts and characters by reading The Willa Cather Collection simultaneaously with The Selected Letters of Willa Cather. It is thrilling to read about her creative method as she wrote The Song of the Lark while reading the novel. Ms. Cather commented that she deeply missed the characters in that work when her writing was completed, just as we, as readers, miss them when finishing her book. Comparisons are made between the main character, Thea, and the actual operatic talent of the early 20th century, Olive Fremstad, who was a friend of Cather.
I have now turned my summer reading theme into my autumn theme, with fall arriving tomorrow, and will revel in her characterizations and midwest scenery until the cold weather comes, and beyond, I expect. I originally purchased 40 Classic Works to read only W. Cather's short stories, but I will now re-read all of the included novels as well. This book is a gem!