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Alice in La La Land

Alice in La La Land - Sophie Lee After I finished O Pioneers! a few months ago, I put a hold on this book at the library; I had no other information about it except that it was another of Willa Cather's classics, one of her best known. I didn't even know it took place in New Mexico, though I wasn't many pages into the novel before I remembered I'd seen it prominently featured among the regional classics when I lived in Tucson. And even though it's clear that the Archbishop of the title will be the central character, I quickly realized that, in contrast to many novels with less-bald titles, the Catholic religion itself would play a minor role.What I read, rather than a religious treatise, was a classic and spare character study—and a very direct presentation of the idea that our relation to our natural environment, and to our fellow men and women, is greater and deeper than any religious doctrine. In the novel, Cather's Father (Bishop, then Archbishop) Jean Latour never preaches; he simply acts, and we see the good of his actions. A really beautiful novel, no longer than it needs to be—nor is it overwritten and stuffed with flashy effects which fall short.Willa Cather is 2-for-2 in my book. I'll read more soon.