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Extended Audio Sample The Song of the Lark Audiobook, by Willa Cather Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 5 3.63 (64 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Willa Cather Narrator: Pam Ward Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781400189786
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The daughter of a Swedish minister growing up in Colorado, Thea Kronborg’s musical talent sets her apart from her contemporaries. Driven by her determination to satisfy her artistic impulse, she moves to Chicago, where she falls in love with a wealthy married man.

The novel follows Thea’s growth from provincial midwesterner to acclaimed international opera singer. Her ability to resolve the tensions between her personal and professional lives and to communicate through her art makes her an unusual and thoroughly modern heroine.

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kelley | 2/17/2014

    " All I have to say is thank goodness it is over, it didn't keep my attention, I didn't really like the main character, and the descriptives bogged down the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loria | 2/17/2014

    " I love Willa Cather. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathe | 1/31/2014

    " Despite being about the life of a woman who becomes a well-respected opera diva, this felt like a look into the life of Willa Cather, and what motivated her to pursue a career in writing. That story would make a good novel as well. Rather slow at times, but I liked how she tried to uncover the feelings and motivations of minor characters as well. In a sense, she comes to understand the debt she owes to so many individuals. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katherine | 1/30/2014

    " I did not like this book very much. I probably would have given up on it if it wasn't the Book Club choice. The first 100 pages were painful, but the rest of the book was a little better. Overall, I don't have much to say about the content - it wasn't interesting to me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anna | 1/27/2014

    " Oh man. Terrible and disappointing, especially since I've liked every other thing I've read by Willa. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 1/26/2014

    " Rather a slow beginning, but I pressed on. I managed to keep myself interested what with the German, a few references to the LDS and the musicians' snobbery. I laughed allowed at some of the descriptions. About half way through it got really interesting. It is way too similar to My Antonia in plot, characters and rhythm, but I plan to re-read it when I get my head wrapped around some more German. I really missed out on a lot because of that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeannie | 1/21/2014

    " My favorite Cather novel. Very inspiring "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KrisAnne | 1/21/2014

    " This book obviously has special significance to me because the main character is an opera singer, but I think its true strength is in its understanding of what art demands of the artist, and of the process of acquiring mastery: it is exhilarating and terrifying. The protagonist, Thea Kronborg, grows up in small town and learns early that unusual talent is accompanied by extraordinary loneliness and self-sufficiency--and that demanding the best of yourself makes mediocrity and the intellectual and cultural complacency of the public very offensive. As Thea says, "You can't try to do things right and not despise the people who do them wrong." I read this book many years ago and aspects of it that merely interested me then are now practically electrifying. Apparently I have gotten more serious about what I'm doing. Cather just really, really got it. And this book represents another facet of Cather's obsession with the way in which immigrants continue to invigorate America. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Diane | 1/19/2014

    " I did not enjoy this book although I kept slogging through to the end, some 600-plus long pages. It is the story of an early nineteenth century girl from the Amerian mid-west who becomes a famous opera singer. I understand that this novel is considered a significant work of literature but I think Cather could have used a good editor among other things. Description heavy and repetitious. Cather uses such strange turns of phrase that I kept wondering if English was her first language. Has the language changed that much in the past one-hundred years? Perhaps the language, the attitudes and society have evolved enough since 1915, the year of the publication, that the novel has become an anachronism. Whatever it is, this book may have been cutting edge back then but is now a major snooze. Not recommended. And what was that detour through New Mexico all about? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brie | 1/17/2014

    " I liked the characters Cather painted in the story. It was kind of a fluffy/flowery/old fashioned read, but it has a lot of great quotes and textual imagery... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine Stirling | 1/8/2014

    " I so loved this book when I read it during one of my summers in college. It really spoke to me as a musician, and as a young woman facing the vast frontier of her adulthood. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allie Larkin | 1/4/2014

    " This is my all time favorite book. I'm a little obsessed with Willa Cather. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Darcy | 1/4/2014

    " I just couldn't get through this book, although I made it in the end. I felt like this one was different than her other books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josie | 1/4/2014

    " A gorgeous story about the life of an artist trying to find her voice. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Helena | 1/2/2014

    " Tedious, not as good as her others "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mackay | 12/15/2013

    " This was the first Cather I read, and I adored it. Maybe the adult me wouldn't, but the child me did. Maybe it didn't hurt that my mother listened to the Met on the radio every Saturday (though not Wagner, not then...distinctly out of favor)- but I believed every word of this book of a Nebraska girl who grows up to be a famous Wagnerian soprano. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deb | 12/5/2013

    " Published in 1915. Book follows a young girl growing up in Colorado who starts as a pianist and ends up an opera singer. I made myself finish the book, not a very good read for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennie | 11/25/2013

    " Although I find this, in the end, bleak and depressing, it meant something to me, and Thea has definitely stuck with me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gwen | 11/20/2013

    " So this is my favorite from Cather. I won't enter all her books, but check out The Professor's House and My Mortal Enemy if you get hooked. Surprisingly I didn't like Death Comes for the Archbishop (her prizewinner) as well as these others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane Mueller | 11/18/2013

    " This book got a little long for me and felt like at times it was just trying to get out a required amount of pages. I feel the story could of been told better in far less pages. Still interesting. Another English class book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 sabrina | 11/14/2013

    " Some of the most beautiful writing of landscape and music that I have ever read--and nothing too beyond the stretch of language or ordinary experience. Wonderful characterization and exploration of dreams. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clara Rasmussen | 11/2/2013

    " This was my first Cather read. She has a profound skill that led me to read severl more of her books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheri | 10/28/2013

    " I loved this book until about halfway through it. I feel the character changed too much, or maybe she just sold her soul... I don't know. Had to read it for a class, but it wasn't bad, one of the better books I've been forced to read in a class. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crystal Eberle | 9/30/2013

    " Beautiful prose. Classic Cather. I agree with the author's comment in the second edition's forward which said that she should have quit writing about 2/3 of the way through. The story climaxed and needed to end long before it did. The writing was great, but the story was over. I still liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renee | 9/4/2013

    " Beautifully written and definitely rich in detail. I found the story captivating, but very repetitive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Baldwin_tina | 8/27/2013

    " (734 pgs.) One of my favorite books! I have this book in my library and would recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 8/9/2013

    " I think I love everything written by Willa Cather. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate Finkelstein | 7/7/2013

    " I've read this book over and over... and will probably read it over and over again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michealle | 6/13/2013

    " I really liked this book. The main character is a woman from the plains who dreams of being an opera singer. I enjoy good writing about music, and I could really identify with the protagonist. It's a quiet book, so if you were looking for something fast paced, this would not be the book for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colin Hoover | 6/4/2013

    " Loved this book! Cather's pros is incredible in every way. I felt a little cheated with the ending, but not so much that it took away from the novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betsy Miller vixie | 5/25/2013

    " Didn't enjoy as much as her other works. Maybe me or maybe the book. Do love the premise. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emil | 5/22/2013

    " I liked it and all, but I did find it tedious at times. It's no O Pioneers!, My Antonia, or Death Comes for the Archbishop. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea Wells | 2/24/2013

    " One of my favorite books of all time. A story of the artist developing on the vast canvas of the American West. Her writing itself is musical and evocative. Her descriptive passages are vivid and beautiful, her characters gripping. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Owen | 2/16/2013

    " Definitely my favorite Willa Cather book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dianne Howes | 2/11/2013

    " Another on of my favorite books. Willa Cather is an amazing storyteller, her books are easy to read and interesting, as well as having of some big "life ideas". They're also quite timely, which surprised me considering she wrote "Song of the Lark" in 1915. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 2/7/2013

    " so it appears that i wrote 2 of 3 papers for my women and lit class on this book. (one only on this book and one on this and to the lighthouse.) i totally had no idea. i guess i was really into this book. (i remembered liking it...but who knew how much?) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cordelia Becker | 2/3/2013

    " I love Willa Cather's writing - and find it so odd that I didn't learn about her until the last few years. I think she maybe a somewhat underrated writer. She does such a wonderful job of describing the experiences of certain immigrants to the mid-west. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam Holsinger | 1/29/2013

    " Another delightful read by Cather. Not quite as haunting as "My Antonia" but an interesting tale of a young woman's climb with talent to fame. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel Parent | 11/28/2012

    " Gorgeous book about the nature of leading a creative life. Cather is one of my favourite American authors, and this is my favourite of her books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meghan | 6/9/2012

    " Thea Kronborg has been such great company on my commute into Tokyo. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sophia | 6/7/2012

    " Not my favorite of the Cather I've read so far. I got tired of the relentless wonderfulness of the heroine, and the earnest discussions of art and the development of an artist seemed heavy handed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vivien | 1/30/2012

    " Sweet book about a Wagnerian soprano from Colorado. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cydney | 12/31/2011

    " I just love the way she writes. I can read anything Willa Cather. Heartily recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 8/6/2011

    " I really loved this book. It's worth slowing down and reading every word for the descriptions of Colorado and Arizona and the the gems of insights hidden in the middle of nowhere. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim Brunsvold | 7/6/2011

    " I recently rescued a box of classic novels from my mother's attic. This one was borrowed from the Milwaukee co. library in 1965 and never returned. Should I send it back when I finish?? Ha Ha!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rbmead | 5/21/2011

    " the least of the three, including My Antonia and O Pioneers, but still a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 5/15/2011

    " I enjoyed this book, but not for reasons that I would have expected. I found myself wanting the characters to make different choices, and then questioning why I felt as I did. Do I feel threatened when people seem to reject the choices that I have made in life? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colin Hoover | 3/12/2011

    " Loved this book! Cather's pros is incredible in every way. I felt a little cheated with the ending, but not so much that it took away from the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Milkman3367 | 3/9/2011

    " "Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness." This is a novel about the evolution of an artist, in this case a professional singer; and it is very nearly pitch-perfect. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 2/1/2011

    " Well written and interesting characters. Everytime I felt I knew what was going to happen next, it changed. A little intrique. I enjoy reading books by Willa Cather. I found the end of the book dragged. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mjohnson | 1/7/2011

    " So nice to read something where people do not sink to today's low standards. This is more like 3 1/2 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 1/2/2011

    " My first Cather read, which lead me to want to read more and more of her hauntingly descriptive writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rand | 12/29/2010

    " An interesting take on the artistic temperament. I think Ms. Cather understood it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 12/20/2010

    " Took me a long time to really get taken by this one, especially after O Pioneers, then once I did it seemed to end almost all of a sudden. Still Ms. Cather's amazing descriptive text, but not my favorite story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 11/15/2010

    " I'm going to have to think on my review for a while... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Etta Mcquade | 11/1/2010

    " A great book by a great author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 10/20/2010

    " I recently rescued a box of classic novels from my mother's attic. This one was borrowed from the Milwaukee co. library in 1965 and never returned. Should I send it back when I finish?? Ha Ha!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat Stearman | 7/29/2010

    " Interesting look at a small town girl in 19th century US growing up and finally achieving her music dreams. Good characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty Chang | 6/24/2010

    " I give this a 5 star but I think its more 4 1/2 compared to her other works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Salsadancer | 4/12/2010

    " the development of a Swedish-Norwegian female artist from childhood to maturity; published 1915 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emil | 3/6/2010

    " I liked it and all, but I did find it tedious at times. It's no O Pioneers!, My Antonia, or Death Comes for the Archbishop. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheila | 2/19/2010

    " Cather's prose carries a steadfast commitment to fresh language, a determined refusal to sag down into the sentimental. I finish her books with a deepening understanding of what made America, of what made Americans. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 6/25/2009

    " This is my favorite novel by Willa Cather. Her narrative and character development is phenomenal and you find yourself walking alongside the main character. As a semi-autobiographical novel, you also gain insights into Cather herself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 6/22/2009

    " This book was way too long and for no decent reason. I liked young Thea and the first part entertained me. Something about the rest of story didn't do it for me. Maybe I was expecting something more the "bright lights, big city" plotline as Thea got older? "

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About the Author
Author Willa Cather

Willa Cather (1873–1947), the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of more than fifteen books, is widely considered one of the most distinguished American writers of the early twentieth century. She grew up in Nebraska and is best known for her depictions of frontier life on the Great Plains in novels such as O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and Song of the Lark. In 1944 she was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction.

About the Narrator

Pam Ward found her true calling reading books for the blind and physically handicapped for the Library of Congress’ Talking Books program. The fact that she can work with Blackstone Audio from the beauty of the mountains of Southern Oregon is an unexpected bonus. Her audiobook narration has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards.