The Uncommon Friendship of Yalhta Menuhin and Willa Cather
NEW BOOK: The Uncommon Friendship Of Yaltah Menuhin & Willa Cather...
In recent years, much light has been shed on the remarkable life and
writing of American author Willa Cather (1873-1947), many of whose
novels explored the subject of women and creativity.
Now, acclaimed author Lionel Rolfe (The Menuhins: A Family Odyssey,
Literary L.A. and Fat Man on the Left: Four Decades in the
Underground) has delved into his fascinating family history to
reveal the extraordinary story of the friendship between Willa
Cather and his mother, piano prodigy Yaltah Menuhin (1920-2001),
sister of world class violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Against the
tumultuous backdrop of America and Europe in the early and mid-20th
century, Rolfe presents the engrossing chronicle of his mother¹s
struggle as a budding musician, her tragic relationship with her own
parents, and the solace she found when Cather became her mentor -- a
mutually inspiring friendship which would endure for decades and
would see Yaltah inspiring some of the most memorable heroines in
Cather¹s novels, most notably Lucy Gayheart.
Here is a personal yet universal book which not only provides
illuminating new insight into two important women artists, but also
raises many provocative questions about the effects of societal and
familial constraint on the lives of brilliant women.
From the preface:
I ended the book with deepened understanding of the special
relationship between Rolfe¹s mother and Willa Cather, and
appreciated it for that reason. But mainly I appreciated it because
of insights it enabled about the family of the Menuhins, and about
what it meant to be a third and female prodigy in that family.
It is a deeply humanizing reminder of actual people who create the
art, and who create the conditions of artistic performance.
-- Sue Rosowski, University of Nebraska
The Uncommon Friendship Of Yaltah Menuhin & Willa Cather