O Pioneers! (Kobo eBook)
First published in 1913, “O Pioneers!” is the first novel in Willa Cather’s “Great Plains” trilogy. Followed by “The Song of the Lark” in 1915 and “My Ántonia” in 1918, “O Pioneers!” introduces us to the Bergsons, a family of Swedish-American immigrants who live in the fictional farm town of Hanover, Nebraska at the beginning of the 20th century. The story centers on the life of Alexandra Bergson, who inherits the family farm with her mother and three brothers when her father dies. Many years of crop failures force the Bergson’s neighbors to give up and sell their farms, something that Alexandra’s brothers Oscar and Lou wish to do but which Alexandra and her mother are unwilling to do. Instead Alexandra convinces the family to mortgage their homestead in order to buy up the surrounding acreage. Amidst the backdrop of managing the farm there develops two romantic relationships in the novel, one between Alexandra and her childhood friend Carl Linstrum, who returns after many years away, and another between Alexandra’s youngest brother, Emil, and the unhappily married Marie Shabata. “O Pioneers!” is a classic portrayal of the struggles of immigrants in the great plains of America, a story of success in the face of hardship, and the growth of a young woman along the way. This edition includes a biographical afterword.