Home Feed
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Death Comes for the Archbishop
Death Comes for the Archbishop | Willa Cather
Death Comes for the Archbishop is Willa Cather's best-known novel, a narrative whose spare beauty achieves epic--and even mythic--qualities as it recounts a life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
post image

Willa Cather‘s masterpiece brings the early Southwest of what is now the United States vividly alive through the story of two French Catholic missionaries to New Mexico and the surrounding territories. The writing is simple and breathtakingly beautiful. Readers get to know a bit about the Mexican and Native Indian cultures at that time and how they interacted with European and American settlers. Highly recommended! Image: Cather in 1912.

Becker I also loved this simple but beautifully told story 💐 2mo
Ruthiella I need to reread this one! I think I read it too young and would appreciate it more now!😀 2mo
Louise @Ruthiella Yes, I can see how it might be too quiet a book for a younger reader. It‘s definitely worth a reread! 2mo
Louise @Becker Yes, it really is so beautifully told! I have about a dozen post-it flags marking extraordinary passages. It‘s a book to be savored. 2mo
90 likes4 stack adds4 comments
post image

I found this in the library when I went to pick up another book. The blurb told me it as set in #newmexico but, due to the title and the blurb itself, I was less than enthused to try it.

However, this proved to be a beautifully simple story, with some sad and some funny moments and gorgeous descriptions throughout and, surprisingly, it wasn‘t too heavy on religion.

I‘ll definitely read more Willa Cather in the future.


Tamra This is an really excellent novel! (edited) 6mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke is hosting a #catherbuddyread. We‘re reading The Song of the Lark right now, and My Antonìa is next. 6mo
Kaye I‘ve not read this one. I‘m glad you were pleasantly surprised. ✨✨ 6mo
See All 14 Comments
squirrelbrain Thanks @Lcsmcat - I may join in as I can order My Antonia from the library and it fits for the Nebraska prompt too. @Graywacke when are you starting that one? 6mo
NatalieR 💚 you‘re cactus 🌵 candle holder! 6mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain glad you enjoyed this. I had the same kind of issues too (still have them) and still, it‘s a memorable and beautiful book. Regarding My Antonia and the #catherbuddyread, probably we will start late June. I‘ll break it into 4 parts and the first discussion might be June 23 or 30 (both Sundays). I haven‘t actually thought about dates or divisions before I read your post. ☺️ ( @Lcsmcat ) 6mo
squirrelbrain Thanks @NatalieR 🌵- it took me ages to find a pink candle for it (it had to be pink for some reason!) 6mo
squirrelbrain @Graywacke - I‘ve also just found My Antonia on Libby so I‘ve reserved it. It says 4 weeks, which would be perfect but, of course, it‘s more likely to turn up in 2! 😁 6mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain If you don‘t mind ebooks, there‘s Projectgutenberg or spend $1 on Amazon. 🙂 6mo
squirrelbrain @Graywacke - I‘m in the UK so just assumed it would be expensive for Kindle... just checked and it‘s 49 pence so that‘s that sorted - thank you! 👍😁 6mo
Graywacke Perfect! 6mo
Hooked_on_books I‘ve had a copy of My Antonia for years and have been expecting to use it for my Nebraska book. I may join in on that buddy read. 6mo
squirrelbrain That would be fab @Hooked_on_books ! I‘ll tag @Graywacke in so he can include you when they start the buddy read.... 6mo
Graywacke @squirrelbrain thanks! @Hooked_on_books I‘ll add you for My Antonia 6mo
89 likes1 stack add14 comments
post image

A really lovely book to listen to. Sort of a quiet, gently told story. It‘s very episodic in nature and has a wonderful sense of place. It is my first Cather. Are they all like this?

Tamra 💜 Cather 9mo
21 likes1 comment
post image

Pictured is Ácoma, my favorite area described in the book.

My first Cather hits all sorts of uncomfortable spots - missionaries, superiority of the religious and of western European culture. But Cather won me over because she was a great writer, humbled to the historical facts and to the landscape. She captures New Mexico, centered on Santa Fe, both in its 19th-century isolation and its natural timelessness. Will read more by her.

Graywacke @catebutler @crazeedi @Lcsmcat @batsy @Tanisha_A @Liz_M - just tagging you in case you were wondering where I ended up on this one. (I still plan to write a somewhat longer review - not for Litsy though) 9mo
Crazeedi This is one of my favorite places in the United states! 9mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi pretty spectacular. I‘ve been places in NM, but they were not like this. 9mo
See All 30 Comments
Crazeedi @Graywacke I saw from distance, my daughter and her partner got to see up close. I've been to painted desert, petrified forest, sandia mountain, jemez and other places. I long to go back 9mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi hmm. Me too. I‘m on the wrong side of tx, so it‘s so close yet so far. (I-40 leaves memories of a lot of basalt covered in light snow...and petrified forest. That was a long time ago for me. And there‘s white sands, the volcanic cones...) 9mo
catebutler Great review! What a stunning view, NM is such a beautiful state. So many sweeping vistas. 9mo
Graywacke @catebutler so true, Cate, about NM. (And thanks!) 9mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke oh yes I've been in southern nm too. The whole state is so amazing, the very large array! 9mo
Lcsmcat Cather was such a talented writer! You should try 9mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat we‘re actually talking about an April buddy read for O Pioneers (with @catebutler and possibly @Crazeedi). I have copies of both, so some day!! 9mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi indeed 👍 9mo
CarolynM Echoing @Lcsmcat Both those books are fabulous. 9mo
Graywacke @CarolynM they seem to inspire a lot of literary 💜 9mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I could do with a reread! Let me know. 9mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I‘m going to tag you in the conversation 9mo
Lcsmcat Thanks! 9mo
jmofo I love Acoma, too. And I also struggled reading this book, as the accounts erased the non-white experiences and her presenting manipulation by an authority of the church as charming was gross. But she did describe NM and CO so well as well as life-long friendship. 9mo
Graywacke @jmofo yes, it was the undercurrent that bothered me. I convinced myself she wasn‘t really aware of this or at least not from the perspective we have now. (she was writing in the 1920‘s) That she really meant to show everything. Anyway, I bought into her as having integrity and left it there. Of course she was human. Could be better or worse. ?? 9mo
batsy I loved O Pioneers so much. Nice review; now I know how to prepare myself for this one re: some of those themes... And this photo is gorgeous. Just wow. 9mo
Graywacke @batsy Thanks. Ácoma is actually more impressive in the text, as she describes it and how the people lived with it. ...... Since I basically closed my eyes and picked this off the shelf, I was not prepared. ? 9mo
Tanisha_A Superb review! Thank you. I am certainly excited to read her, whenever I get to her! That picture is 😍! 9mo
Tamra Cather is such an evocative writer! 9mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A Thank you! And, yeah, that place - didn‘t even know it existed. I tagged in a conversation for a what‘s becoming a group read, in case you might be interested to get Cather soon. 9mo
Graywacke @Tamra yeah, she is. I enjoyed how much she loved and captured the landscape. 9mo
Tamra @Graywacke I‘d love to reread any Cather as buddy read! (edited) 9mo
Graywacke @Tamra cool. I‘ll tag you in the conversation. 9mo
Liz_M Sigh. I spent a summer in Santa Fe and somehow missed seeing anything else of the state. 9mo
Graywacke @Liz_M was it a nice summer? 9mo
Liz_M @Graywacke Yes, mostly. Some good memories and I loved the beautiful, almost nightly, lightning storms. 9mo
Graywacke @Liz_M Seems like a lovely place to live for a bit (and maybe I‘m a little down on Houston) (edited) 9mo
61 likes30 comments
post image

This was a good book. Very peaceful.

Crazeedi Beautiful photos! 9mo
Bookwormjillk @Crazeedi Thanks. They‘re from a trip to Santa Fe a few years ago. 9mo
Crazeedi @Bookwormjillk I love new Mexico, I knew I loved the pictures for a reason!😊 9mo
38 likes3 comments
post image

Not the best book for when I‘m at my daughter‘s gymnastics class and a small child is bouncing a basketball right next to my face.

Becker What a pretty edition 9mo
32 likes1 comment
post image

I‘m starting this, a second random book off the shelf, with help of critic.

Lcsmcat And a good book it is. 9mo
batsy Sweet 😻 And that's a lovely edition. 9mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat 👍 I haven‘t read Cather before. So it‘s all new to me. 9mo
See All 42 Comments
Graywacke @batsy cool thing about the edition (1971 Vintage), which came from my in-laws: there‘s a bookmark inside from “Plaza Paperbacks” with an address of 1903 Walnut Street, on Rittenhouse. That must be the store in Philadelphia where they got it from - presumably in 1971. Trying to treat the book well. 9mo
Tanisha_A I have never read her. First I have on list is My Antonia! 9mo
Tanisha_A And, that's so cool and special about the edition! 9mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A I‘ve been meaning to read her for a long time. Finally opening a copy. I‘m entertained. The pace early on is very fast, but then there are these meaningful paragraphs where I need to kind of let the image sink in a moment. Also lots of lovely landscapes. 9mo
catebutler Cather is fantastic, definitely one of my favourites. I‘m so happy to hear you‘re enjoying your first reading of her. Her imagery is astounding, it definitely leaves much to ponder and reflect on. P. S. Your vintage copy is lovely! 9mo
Liz_M I want your shelves -- you seem to have gotten a couple of great reads randomly from them! ☺ 9mo
Graywacke @Liz_M awe, thanks. It's odd, there are lots that I really want to read on those shelves, but the brain plays tricks on me. 9mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke Isn't that great! That sounds like almost perfect writing style - good pace, inclusive of meaningful paragraphs! 9mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A I‘m halfway through now. The writing is good, the moralizing - is she moralizing... - anyway, I read with a sort of paused concern, and curiosity. She is exploring a multicultural clash on many levels. Our author plays neutral, maybe. Anyway, she has my attention in these wandering tales. 9mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke @catebutler @Tanisha_A I think I've only read this one by her, years ago, it was really good 9mo
catebutler @Crazeedi ‘My Antonia‘ is stunning! It was my first Cather and made me want to read more. I do have a few left to read, I‘ve been holding on to them, I love her so! 9mo
Crazeedi @catebutler then I must find some of her others and put in my tbr! 9mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi @catebutler My Antonia - some day! I have a few others on the shelf too - O Pioneers, Shadows on the Rock. 9mo
catebutler @Graywacke @Crazeedi I love seeing others reading her. If either of you are ever up for a buddy read, do let me know! 9mo
Graywacke @catebutler @crazeedi In theory I‘m up for a buddy read, but, admittedly, I‘ve never figured out how to do them exactly...😕 9mo
catebutler @Graywacke @Crazeedi No worries! Basically we would decide on the book, a reading schedule, and then post and discuss, you can do it by breaking down chapters or by a final discussion at the end. They can be really in-depth or a laid back read. I find them quite fun, since they motivate me to get to a book that‘s been lingering for a while. 9mo
Graywacke @catebutler don‘t want to commit anyone, but I‘m open to this. (Although March is kind a loaded for me, reading-wise). Have three Cather‘s in the shelf. 9mo
catebutler @Graywacke How about we plan on reading one of hers in April? I‘m fine with reading whichever one you‘d like to read. 9mo
Graywacke @catebutler April works! O Pioneers is looking at me - I think it‘s volunteering itself. (This way I‘m not to blame 😉) The others I have are Shadows in the Rock and My Antonia. 9mo
catebutler @Graywacke Ha! Too funny! O Pioneers it is then! I‘ll mark it down for April. It will be so fun to get back to her works again, it‘s been awhile. 9mo
Crazeedi @catebutler put me down if its April, I would be interested. I would have to know which book to get, since I dont have any of hers 9mo
Crazeedi @catebutler so its o pioneers? 9mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi yes, we‘ll read O Pioneers in April. A good excuse to read it!! 🙂 9mo
catebutler @Graywacke @Crazeedi I‘m so looking forward to reading with the both of you! 9mo
Graywacke @catebutler @Crazeedi - we might have four!! @Lcsmcat is interested. Might demand a good hashtag. #catherbuddyread ?? 9mo
catebutler @Graywacke @Crazeedi @Lcsmcat Sounds great! The more the merrier. And I think the hashtag is brilliant!💡 9mo
Lcsmcat Love the hashtag! 9mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke @Lcsmcat @catebutler excellent hashtag! I will get the book and be ready!😊 9mo
Graywacke @Tanisha_A - just checking, are you interested in joining us in April for O Pioneers? 9mo
Graywacke @tamra - See comments above - err, the ones from yesterday. It‘s all kinda unplanned, but I‘ll try to “organize” it before April 1. 9mo
Tamra @Graywacke 👍🏾 9mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke @catebutler @Lcsmcat @Tamra did you know O Pioneers is part of a trilogy? It's first, then The Song of the Lark, then My Antonia. I was looking for O Pioneers on overdrive to borrow when we read, and the blurb said first of trilogy!! We might want to think about #catherbuddyread and continue with them?! Thoughts?? 8mo
Tanisha_A @Graywacke Cool, let's do it! 😀 Thankee! 8mo
Lcsmcat @Crazeedi I didn‘t realize that she considered them a trilogy, but it was pretty clear that they‘re connected. I‘m down for a reread of all three if y‘all are! 8mo
Crazeedi @Lcsmcat so you've read them, I have not. If you want it'd be great! 8mo
Crazeedi @Tanisha_A glad you're in too!! 8mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi @Tanisha_A @Lcsmcat had no idea. I‘m interested. 8mo
Lcsmcat @Crazeedi I have, but not back to back and not in a long time. It‘ll be interesting to read them with that in mind. 8mo
56 likes2 stack adds42 comments
post image

Next on the TBR.

post image

"In 1851 Father Jean Marie Latour comes as the Apostolic Vicar to New Mexico...In the almost forty years that follow, Latour spreads his faith in the only way he knows—gently, although he must contend with an unforgiving landscape, derelict and sometimes openly rebellious priests, and his own loneliness."

#alittlepriest #musicalnewyear
@Cinfhen @vivastory

IndoorDame What a beautiful edition! 10mo
Cathythoughts I loved My Antonia ( same author , right ? ) I have this one stacked 👍🏻♥️♥️ 10mo
vivastory I love Willa Cather. Haven't read this one yet. Stacked! 10mo
See All 8 Comments
readordierachel @IndoorDame I think so, too! 10mo
readordierachel @Cathythoughts Yes, same author. I still need to read that! Looking forward to it 💕 10mo
readordierachel @vivastory I haven't read it yet either. A colleague recommended it to me last month (said it was one of her favorites!) and then I found it at a Goodwill over the weekend. The stars aligned ☺ 10mo
batsy So pretty 😍 I loved O, Pioneers! Want to read the rest of the books in that Great Plains trilogy, and then everything she's ever written 😆 10mo
readordierachel @batsy I remember when you reviewed that one! It inspired my to pick up My Antonia ☺. Now I have 3 of her books (this one, Anotnia, and her first, Troll Garden) and still haven't read any of them yet 😂 10mo
91 likes1 stack add8 comments
post image

A convergence of influences conspired to make me pick this up now. First was when Thomas from The Readers mentioned how absolutely readable Willa Cather books are, despite the lofty stamp of being classics. And then it was mention as a book that would count for the Western task in the @bookriot Read Harder challenge. It‘s so different than I expected. And this, Readers, is why I do the challenge every year.

Tamra Willa Cather is wonderful! 14mo
Crinoline_Laphroaig If you get the chance, take a road trip to Willa Cather Memorial Prairie and town of Red Cloud. It will make her Pioneer Trilogy come to life. 14mo
HardcoverHearts @Crinoline_Laphroaig that sounds amazing! Thanks for the tip. 14mo
See All 6 Comments
SandyW Your picture reminds me of a B&B hubby and I stayed at for our anniversary a few years ago, Cowgirl Rising in New Mexico. 14mo
HardcoverHearts @SandyW If that‘s it, I‘m checking in ASAP! So beautiful. 14mo
Emilymdxn I adore a Willa Cather! Haven‘t read this one but my Antonia and o pioneers are two of my fave novels ever 14mo
21 likes2 stack adds6 comments
post image

Looking forward to reading this Cather novel. I‘ve been reading a lot of contemporary fiction lately. Time for a classic. #fridayreads #willacather #classicbooks #readingclassics

RebelReader I listened to this on audio earlier this summer and really enjoyed it. 😃 1y
RobinGustafson @RebelReader Oh good! I haven‘t read any Cather for a long time so I‘m really looking forward to reading it 📚📚📚 1y
13 likes1 stack add2 comments
post image

This book brought me joy.

8 likes1 stack add
post image

A sweet friend dropped this beautiful bookmark by today. It was a wonderful surprise!

post image

I just love Willa Cather. I have multiple copies of some of her books because I found ones that other people have loved and wrote in. I am making my way through Death Comes for the Archbishop and enjoying it a lot

post image

This book snuck up on me. I was complaining that nothing happened in it except for priests traveling to different places, and then suddenly I found it moving me to tears. Passages like this made me unexpectedly homesick for New Mexico. Nothing much does happen, except two fundamentally decent people spend their lives in service and then die in their old age, respected and loved. But when you think about it, that‘s a pretty beautiful story.

RebelReader I listened to this on audio and I just loved all the characters he met along his travels. It‘s a slow burner, but I love Cather and want to visit Red Cloud, NE. 1y
alisahar @RebelReader It would have been great on audio! I read it in e-book. 1y
31 likes2 stack adds2 comments
post image

For this native New Mexican, the descriptions of New Mexico alone make the book worth reading. Such a perfect, beautiful description.

Readerann This makes me think of the Georgia O‘Keefe museum in Santa Fe. Such beautiful paintings. 1y
alisahar @Readerann New Mexico is inspiring— the “land of enchantment.” 1y
21 likes2 comments

At times problematic but ultimately redemptive in tone, the prose sensitively describes the beauty of New Mexico and profound, life-long friendship. Early scenes of charmingly manipulative priests and history forgotten or told from the European perspective made me wonder if there was another book I‘d rather read. Someone had suggested that I might like Willa Cather‘s writing, and I do, but I could not remember what book they had recommended...

post image

#GetMovin #thejokerandthethief The thief of life ..... Death ... is inevitable, I just wish it would always come when one has lived ones life fully ❤️

TrishB That would be lovely ❤️ 2y
Tanisha_A So eloquently said! 👌 2y
Cinfhen Lovely thought for such a grim topic 2y
Cathythoughts @TrishB @Tanisha_A @Cinfhen ❤️❤️❤️ (edited) 2y
47 likes2 stack adds4 comments
post image

Audible is having a 2 for 1 credit sale on classics. These two books have been on my "to read" list forever. My library doesn't have them so yay for finding them at a good price ?


I read this last year for a book club and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Now I'm trying to find another Cather in a similar vein and getting swamped in her numerous works. Anybody know her stuff well enough to make a recommendation?

post image

I bailed on this book in high school, but I enjoyed listening to this while driving. Age and maturity allow me to appreciate that Cather's writing is gorgeous even if the story is slow moving following the life of an archbishop. I grew to love the characters and this makes me want to read more of her work.

Tamra Yes, I really enjoy her. But I can‘t see high school kids digging it! 2y
GondorGirl ❤❤❤ 2y
RebelReader @Tamra I know I read My Antonia in college, but I really don't remember it at all. It looks like it's #2 in a trilogy so I guess I'll have to go in order. 😀 2y
90 likes3 comments

This was a re-read for me. I first read this book 30 years ago, in high school, and I remember thinking the story was kind of dull and pointless, because nothing really happened. With some middle-aged wisdom, I definitely appreciated it more, though I still felt it dragged. This is a subtle story about a man‘s life work as a missionary, so the events are fairly low-key, but the writing is wonderful, as are the character and setting descriptions.

17 likes1 stack add
post image

It‘s Willa‘s birthday today. Thought I‘d attach this photo of the gravestones of Willa and my great-aunt, Edith Lewis, buried next to each other. Companions for many years.

vivastory What a companion to have! 2y
Suet624 @vivastory Yes, I think they had wonderful adventures. And they are now acknowledging Edith as an editor of Willa‘s books. 2y
GondorGirl That's an amazing connection! Do you know how they met or what their relationship was like? 2y
See All 22 Comments
EvieBee Wow! That is awesome. 2y
Suet624 @GondorGirl I believe they met at a publisher‘s house in Nebraska. They lived together for 40 years. 2y
MyNightstandRunnethOver Where is she buried? 2y
Suet624 @MyNightstandRunnethOver Jaffrey, NH. They loved it there. (edited) 2y
GondorGirl @Suet624 That's amazing! 2y
GondorGirl @Suet624 That article and letter were such a lovely insight. Thank you for sharing it!❤❤ 2y
LeahBergen I love this part of your family history. ❤️ 2y
AmyG Wow. That is truly awesome. 2y
JanuarieTimewalker13 This is wonderful!! I loved My Antonia. 2y
Eggs Wowed 2y
saresmoore ♥️ 2y
Godmotherx5 WOW 😮 2y
kspenmoll What wonderful literary heritage! Thanks for link, will read the article! 2y
minkyb Holey moley! 2y
batsy Such an amazing part of your family history ❤️❤️ 2y
DivineDiana Thank you for including the article with your post. Love this literary connection! 💕 2y
ValerieAndBooks That is so amazing. And for 40 years! 2y
britt_brooke Amazing! 💚 2y
72 likes1 stack add22 comments
post image
31 likes1 stack add
post image

This book caught my eyes because I saw the word "death"...I like films and books that are dark.

2 likes1 stack add

If you had told me in 1986 (11th grade American Lit) that I would willingly re-read Death Comes for the Archbishop someday, I would have scoffed. And yet, here I am, starting the audiobook. #usareadingroadtrip #newmexico #scribd

post image

A little slower month but have been spending a lot of time on @NataliePatalie upcoming wedding and also went back to work this month.

#UncriticalAugust @Critic_Uncritical_Bookworm
#Booksacrossoceans @pri_bibliophile @mellisarock

38 likes2 stack adds
post image

Interesting book. I honestly thought it would turn out to be really boring, but I ended up kind of enjoying it! 3.5/5


post image

What are you reading this week?

post image

#FunPhotoFriday Read this wonderful book in Dr. V's 1920s Lit course. It was our last book after a semester of reading male authors and it felt like a breath of fresh air. Dr. V was my favorite professor in undergrad and wrote one of my grad school recs. RIP Dr. V, you inspired everyone who took one of your courses. Thank you for introducing me to this and so many other wonderful works of literature.

14 likes3 stack adds
post image

"He will have no easy life, your Eminence. That country will drink up his youth and strength as it does the rain." I remember reading this line for the first time. Thats when I knew I was in for a treat. ???

15 likes3 stack adds
post image

Starting the holiday weekend off with a long stroll to the local used bookstores that are in my town. They are always filled with gems! I have heard so much about this book being a classic, that I had to grab a copy myself. Then stopped off for some peonies to enjoy over the holiday. Happy weekend!

HardcoverHearts @SavidgeReads : I heard your voice when I reached for HHHH! Thanks for the recommendation. 3y
Liberty So interested in the HHhH movie! 3y
susanw HHhH is going to be a movie?! Cool. 3y
See All 8 Comments
shawnmooney @SavidgeReads & Thomas brought HHhH to my attention too, and it's finally coming to the top of my pile – hope to start it next month. I didn't know it was going to be a movie, @Liberty! Do @Liberty & @SavidgeReads know each other? They should be bookish besties! 3y
HardcoverHearts @shawnmooney - that might be too much if @Liberty knows @SavidgeReads ! The podcast world may implode from awesomeness. 3y
shawnmooney @HardcoverHearts That kind of awesomeness might flip the switch on my bookish circuits too! Can you imagine @Liberty guest-appearing on The Readers or @SavidgeReads on All The Books? 🎉🎈📚 3y
Angelala007 So jelly about Camera Solo. 📸 3y
HardcoverHearts @Angelala007 : it's a lovely little book. Some of the photos shown in M Train are here. I love her so much. Have you heard as the narrator of the Jo Nesbo book? It's great. 3y
14 likes8 comments