Why did I love this book?
Every book by Willa Cather is worth a read for her beautiful evocation of places, times, and people. Death Comes for the Archbishop is a fictionalized biography of two Roman Catholic priests dispatched to New Mexico in the 1850s to serve the newly established diocese in this newly annexed region of the United States. The heart of the story is the way in which each of the men evolve and adapt to a world utterly unlike the European urban centers they have left behind. In Cather’s hands, the landscape quickly becomes a third principal character. I was struck by how effectively she portrayed change in the natural world, as generations of humans made their livings across the region; and how the deserts and mesas persisted, despite the encroachments of a modernizing America.