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#1529: Willa Cather to Viola Roseboro', February 20, 1941

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My very dear Miss Roseboro'1:

My hand3 is still utterly out of commission and I am unable to write at all. The surgeon4 began mild exercise and massage too soon5, and now I am back in splints again. I call this a terrible trial to patience.

It is awfully kind of you to be concerned about the reviews, but the truth is, Miss Roseboro, that this book6 has had a better "press" than any book I have written heretofore. For many years I have not had anything to do with a clipping bureau, but when the reviews are all in Alfred Knopf7 usually asks me to look them over. The New York2 reviewers always lament the fact that my new book (whichever it may be) is a marked decline from the previous book. Logically, I should have reached the vanishing point long ago. It might interest you to know that I did see practically all the reviews that followed the publication of Antoniá8, and from coast to coast there were only two favorable ones. One9 by Fanny Butcher10 and one11 by Grant Overton12. All the others13 said this book was formless and would be of interest only to the Nebraska State Historical Society.

I am asking Miss Bloom14 to send you the review15 by Canby16, which I really think is sound and discerning. He gives me credit17 for trying to do a definite thing, and doing it fairly well. Of course, most of the reviewers still want to know why I did not try to do a very different thing, which would have been more dramatic. This, however, applies only to the New York reviewers18. After I got your letter I telephoned the office and asked them to send over a bunch of reviews from San Francisco19 to New Orleans20. They were practically all very cordial21, and I was astonished that the Southern cities seemed really enthusiastic22. The personal letters that the book has brought in are a real source of satisfaction, ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ as so many of the writers know the country and the conditions.

I hope this cold weather is not treating you too brutally. My hand is quite painful a good deal of the time, but what I mind most is the boredom of incapacity.

Lovingly yours, WILLA CATHER Per Sarah J. Bloom Secretary