A Lost Lady, Willa Cather, 1923

Writing with her usual meticulous care, employing deceptively simple narrative constructions to create characters as powerfully present as figures in a Giotto, Cather brings us Mrs Forrester, a wealthy socialite whose ultimate decline parallels the end of the western frontier. [This novel influenced the writing of The Great Gatsby: “the lost lady” embodies both the art of high civilisation and the fresh immediacy of the prairie.

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