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"The time will come when she will be ranked above Hemingway."
In this portrait of the self-making of an artist, Willa Cather created one of her most extraordinary heroines. Thea Kronborg, a minister's daughter in a provincial Colorado town, whose path to the world stage leads her ever farther from a home she can't forget and from the man she can't afford to love. Slowly, Thea learns that her musical talent and fierce ambition are not enough.
In the solitude of a tiny rock chamber high up an Arizona cliff, Thea comes face to face with her own dreams and desires, stripped clean by ruined cliff dwellings and inspired by the whisperings of their ancient dust. Here she finds the courage to seize her future and to use her gifts to catch "the shining, elusive element that is life itself-- life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose." Cather takes us into the heart of a woman coming to know her deepest self.