Friday, May 13, 2005

On The Nightstand

This week on the nightstand is Sapphira And The Slave Girl by Willa Cather. I don't usually read fiction, but I really wanted a break from educating myself. I wasn't in the mood to wade through a gritty, sexy, cussy modern novel, so I got one from a bygone era.

It's easy to see why Sapphira isn't a well-known or widely read book. Set in antebellum Virginia, it's full of local and period color, in every sense. It's funny how in our "modern" era we think nothing of finding the f-bomb in a novel, but the n-word is enough to make us want to put a book down. And there's more plot in a soap opera than in this book.

I do like Willa Cather's characters, though, which is why I chose the book. She paints their portraits with incomparable subtlety; not one is ever a caricature. Cather does for characters what Georgia O'Keeffe does for flowers: an intimate look, without movement or action.