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My Mortal Enemy  By  cover art

My Mortal Enemy

By: Willa Cather
Narrated by: Natasha Soudek
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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1926, this is Willa Cather's sparest and most dramatic novel, a dark and oddly prescient portrait of a marriage that subverts our oldest notions about the nature of domestic happiness. As a young woman, Myra Henshawe gave up a fortune to marry for love - a boldly romantic gesture that became a legend in her family. But this worldly, sarcastic, and perhaps even wicked woman may have been made for something greater than love. In her portrait of Myra and in her exquisitely nuanced depiction of her marriage, Cather shows the evolution of a human spirit as it comes to bridle against the constraints of ordinary happiness and seek an otherwordly fulfillment. My Mortal Enemy is a work whose drama and intensely moral imagination make it unforgettable. 

©1926 Willa Cather (P)206 Random House Audio

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Typically of Cather, the prose is perfect

Willa Cather always writes beautiful stories, with clean prose. And she excels at setting. My Antonia transports you to the prairie at the turn of the last century. Death Comes for the Archbishop paints the colors of the southwest so vividly that you feel like you have been there. Unfortunately this story didn't have that aspect of storytelling, and I missed it.

Having said that, I still enjoyed her book. My Mortal Enemy tells an important lessons that many people do not want to think about. People change. We grow. We are flexible, bending individuals. And our paths may not change in the same ways as our spouses. The only way to temper that is to work at it. We cannot be passive or apathetic about it. We must put in the effort.

In the book -- and in real life we see the same -- Cather's main characters were completely in love.
They wanted each other enough to cut ties with other family members. They loved each other enough to leave behind the money that she would have received had they chosen to separate. They eloped, to be together.

And yet, life takes its course, and in the end as she is dying it becomes clear that she no longer loves him... and he doesn't care.

The ending is sad, but profound. But the story will make you think, and may possibly teach a lesson.

1 person found this helpful