Willa Cather Book Club January 2019

My Mortal Enemy at the Institute Library

2018 was the first year of the Willa Cather Book Group. Considering that everyone wants to continue reading Cather in 2019, I’d say it’s been a resounding success. Go Willa!

First Meeting of 2019

Our first meeting of 2019 will be on Thursday, January 17th at 2 pm to discuss My Mortal Enemy (1926). This is a flesh and blood book group — we meet at the Book Club Bookstore & More in South Windsor, CT — and all are welcome to join!

My Mortal Enemy is Cather’s 8th novel. It’s also her shortest, but don’t let the length fool you — this story packs a wallop!

Description from the Vintage Classics edition pictured above: 

First published in 1926, this book is Willa Cather’s sparest and most dramatic novel, a dark and 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.


2019 Meeting Dates

The Willa Cather Book Club will meet quarterly again in 2019, on the third Thursday of the month, so our future dates are April 18, July 18, and October 17. These dates are subject to change, of course, so please check in with me or the bookstore regarding future dates.

Card Catalog

If you’re curious about the card catalog photo above, I took it at the Institute Library in New Haven, CT, which was founded in 1826. That index card was almost certainly written out in 1926 when the library received their crisp new copy of My Mortal Enemy.


    • Thanks, Laurie! Yes, I’m always up for a hosting a Cather readalong. Do you have anything in particular in mind?

        • You are too kind! I did host a Willa Cather Novel Reading Challenge in 2012. Cather wrote 12 novels so reading one a month is perfect for a year-long challenge. Here’s the link if you’re interested in checking it out: https://chriswolak.com/willa-cather-novel-challenge/. I wrote two posts for each book. I should probably go back and revise some of those. I just re-read My Antonia this year, but it has been a while since I read O Pioneers! Perhaps we could at least do a buddy read this year?

  1. I wish I could come to your book club, I could almost see driving the distance but Thursday doesn’t work. I may read the book anyway — I bought the LOA complete works a while ago but have not yet gone into it to finish the novels I haven’t yet read.

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