Monday, November 01, 2010

Five best books about innocents and innocence lost

Cynthia Ozick's latest book, the novel Foreign Bodies, has just been published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of books on innocents and innocence lost.

One title on the list:
A Lost Lady
by Willa Cather (1923)

Niel Herbert is a small boy when he first falls under the spell of the young wife of Captain Forrester, a pioneer railroad builder and the town's most respected figure. Mrs. Forrester is an enchantress: Her fine house with its unspoiled acreage, the fashionable brilliance of her dress, the uncommon charm of her "many-colored laugh," her lively engagement with everyone she encounters—all this enthralls Niel well into his 20s. Even as he sees her aging and widowed, even as he discovers her unsavory liaison with a dishonest local ruffian, he remains captivated. Years will pass before the boy's faithful awe will give way to the man's bitter disillusionment. But Willa Cather knows that the heart is a perplexing mixture of beauty and pain and that early adoration betrayed can sometimes end in a kind of forgiveness or, failing that, in bewildered and undying sympathy.
Read about another book on Ozick's list.

--Marshal Zeringue