The high price of glory

The high price of glory

Willa Cather, one of America’s most important women writers, was an extraordinary woman both in her personal life and as a writer. On a personal level, she is a witness to the power of perseverance and constant effort, with a deep and complex identity, full of challenges to social norms and with a very modern and independent life philosophy that has led her to live for almost forty years in the world. Heart of New York with his editor-in-chief Edith Lewis. As a writer and creator of masterpieces, it is enough to leave it in Truman Capote’s hands. The day before his death, Capote explained that in 1942 he was frequenting the New York Society Library, where he met “a woman with a look that hypnotized me, especially her eyes: blue, like the clear, bright plain sky.” One rainy afternoon, on his way out, he approached her and she invited him to tea. In the conversation he tells her that he is a young aspiring writer (he was 18) and she asks him about his favorite writers; He told her about Flaubert, Proust, or Dickens, and when she insisted on other authors, the young Capote told her: “I adore Willa Cather. Mi Antonia. La muerte llama al Archbispo. Have you read her two wonderful short novels, A Lady Lost.” And my sworn enemy?” She answered, “Yes.” After he placed the cup on the table with a nervous movement, he added, “I have to tell you something… I wrote these novels.”


As good as Flaubert

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It was Willa Cather, of course, and ever since she remained a friend of Capote, who considered her “as good as Flaubert.” Capote’s judgment was correct. She is one of the greatest narrative voices in the Anglo-Saxon world.

The harshness of life in Nebraska, where he spent his childhood and youth, shaped his raw and demanding literary style, far from romantic mannerisms, with powerful and exceptional novels such as Mi Antonia, Pioneros, and Uno de los Nostro, which won him prizes. Pulitzer in 1922.


Almost at the end of her literary career, Cather wrote Lucy Geher, one of those short novels that excited Truman Capote and which has just been republished by Alba Publishing. When she wrote the novel, Cather had just turned sixty and was attuned to the modern existentialist spirit of the time, which would soon produce the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Therefore, there is a subtle tonal change in this novel compared to her previous works, as the Great Depression and the new atmosphere put Cather on the path of a modernist aesthetic that actually opens up to the existential atmosphere coming from Europe. Thus he wrote Lucy Gayheart, a novel that straddles modernism and existentialism, albeit in romantic guise.

Psychological development

Lucy Gayheart’s plot is conventional: in the subtle psychological development of the characters, Willa Cather recalls her admiration for Henry James, in a realistic and simple style. With his mastery of traditional narrative style, Cather leverages excellent language to provide vivid characters, wonderful poetic descriptions of the landscape, especially Haverford and the Platte River Valley, and wonderful re-creations of the social atmosphere of the time.

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Infusing the story with the strength of her personality, the novel’s heroine, Lucy Gayheart, is one of those characters who challenges conventional norms and expectations, embodying a variety of experiences and desires that challenge social norms. Thus, Lucy Gayheart navigates the complexities of love, longing, and identity in a world that often seeks to restrict, regulate, and impose itself on her choices.


As a general review, Lucy Gayheart is a monumental story, harsh and realistic, about the high price that must be paid, sometimes with their lives, by those who follow their own path to glory. This is why Cather also learns through her hero that there are mistakes that last a lifetime, and that life does not forgive anyone.

La Curta novel

This is actually a short novel, and thus only has a relatively simple story. Young Lucy Gayheart wants to be a musician. His father, a watchmaker, loves music and plays in a local band. He pays Lucy to go to Chicago, where she becomes a talented pianist. In their hometown of Haverford, Illinois, most people assume that Lucy will marry the wealthy Harry Gordon. While in Chicago, famous opera singer Clement Sebastien needs a pianist because his usual accompanist is injured. Lucy passes the test. Their relationship becomes closer (despite the fact that Sebastian is married despite being separated from his wife). When Gordon visits Chicago to see Lucy and tries to marry her, she ignores him and, insulted, he marries another woman. Meanwhile, Lucy and Sebastian grow closer and it seems that she will become his constant companion. But Sebastian drowns in a lake in Switzerland and Lucy is left alone. He returns home with his father and older sister. She tries to renew her relationship with the now married Harry Gordon, but fails and dies in a skiing accident that closely resembles suicide.

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This new edition by Lucy Gayheart is another example of Alba Publishing’s work to bring back great literary masters like Willa Cather. For more than twenty years, Alba edited Cather’s most important titles, such as Mi Antonia, Pioneros, El puente de Alexander, Mi enemigo mortal, Una dama mistraviada, and her collection of short stories.

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