Shot of Short #56: The Enchanted Bluff by Willa Cather

Title: The Enchanted Bluff by Willa Cather
Date Read: 06 December 2009
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009).
Briefly: Presented in the first person, the narrator reminisces on a boyhood camping trip where one of the boys, Tip, relates the story of Enchanted Bluff, a place ‘awful far away’ down in New Mexico.
Afterthoughts: This is the second Cather tale I’ve read courtesy of Fifty-Two Stories, and I found it to be infinitely better than the first. Aside from the story dwelling on the warm, carefree days of youth, the main focus plays on the concept of boyhood dreams that, for one reason or another, are never realised. Warming and very readable.
Notable Quote: Next week the other boys were to file back to their old places in the Sandtown High School, but I was to go up to the Divide to teach my first country school in the Norwegian district. I was already homesick at the thought of quitting the boys with whom I had always played; of leaving the river, and going up into a windy plain that was all windmills and cornfields and big pastures; where there was nothing wilful or unmanageable in the landscape, no new islands, and no chance of unfamiliar birds—such as often followed the watercourses.

Rating: ★★★½☆

*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I will need to head over and read this. I’ve read three or four Cather novels but never any short stories.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Well if you’ve read Cather and like her, then I’m sure you’ll love this short too.