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Summary

Willa Cather's best known novel; a narrative that recounts a life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.

©2014 Willa Cather (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"A truly remarkable book... Soaked through and through with atmosphere... From the riches of her imagination and sympathy Miss Cather has distilled a very rare piece of literature. It stands out, from the very resistance it opposes to classification." ( New York Times)
"The most sensuous of writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world as solidly as our five senses build the universe around us." (Rebecca West)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

more relevant to the Americas


there wasn't much of a plot to this, it's more or less a biographical novel.
I liked: an insight into the history and life of the time in Mexico

I didn't like : rather pedestrian plot, if you can call it a plot. that the reader couldn't pronounce the French at all.

overall it just about held my attention. I think it's rather after the style of 'Bonanza' and westerns , probably more relevant to an American audience

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  • Eugene
  • 25-01-17

A beautiful story, perfectly read

I downloaded this book on a whim, but wow was it something special. This novel is written simply but very elegantly, and I was moved by the story of the colorful lives of the bishop and his faithful friend. The narration is perfect for the story--sparse, unadorned, perfectly judged. I recommend this to anyone, but especially those looking to be carried away to harder but simpler times. What a powerful counterpoint to our troubled times.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan the Tech Man
  • 13-01-17

Breathtaking!

Where does Death Comes for the Archbishop rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I was blown away by the descriptions of the New Mexico sky and landscape. I wanted to jump in my car and drive to Santa Fe. I downloaded this book after reading a travel piece in the New York Times that quoted from the novel extensively and was blown away by both the descriptions of the landscape but even more so by the description of the life of early missionaries, the Mexicans and the native Americans. Highly recommend!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-02-17

A wonderful book

What made the experience of listening to Death Comes for the Archbishop the most enjoyable?

I listened to it while on a long journey and the vivid detailed descriptions of scenery and life in New Mexico took me there and made the time pass so quickly. It is a book I look forward to listening to again.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several themes in the book, from the political life of New Mexico, treatment of Native Americans to Georgia O Keefe that inspired me to research more and that can only be a good thing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chuck Diven
  • 02-03-18

A Great Trading of A Great Book

I waited for years for someone to record this beautiful, elegiac book about friendship, faith, and the enchanted lands of New Mexico and the Southwest. I could not ask for a better version. Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marilyn C
  • 17-09-16

Finally!

I've been watching for this audible version of this book for years! Thank you, whoever made this happen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ajkiser
  • 18-05-18

Colorful, deep story

An immersion into the 1800s southwest USA from the standpoint of a humble priest. You can feel every detail; the story telling of the author is masterful and the narrator captures it all beautifully. Great perspective on religion in the “new world” at that time.

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  • The Chief
  • 18-03-18

Captures New Mexico perfectly

I lived in NM for five years and I think this book did a wonderful job of describing the beautiful country.

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  • PT
  • 29-01-18

A story of noble simplicity

A great story of an Archbishop and his coworkers of clergy, Mexican, Native American and others who braved the Southwest, and saw the dignity of all the the people who they encountered.

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  • Mitchell Zimmerman
  • 19-11-17

Complicated

This is a disturbing book to a modern reader. It is beautifully written but the picture of the relationship between the Catholic missionaries and the native Americans they have come to save is simplistic and often condescending. Cather respects the indigenous cultures but rarely questions the role of her two hero priests in the destruction of these cultures.
The reading by David Ackroyd is pedestrian but the language triumphs anyway

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  • Eduardo Moros
  • 14-09-17

French priests come to the southwest

The author gives a beautiful description of the New Mexico territory and its people post civil war. The plot is relatively simple but interesting, describing the lives of French missionary priests sent to that uncivilized land as they interacted with the various people of the land. This is an easy to read or listen to book, great for a coffee table. The lives of missionaries was difficult but full of many new an unexpected satisfactions. Friendships are deeply formed and yet the work of the ministry remained central.