Wonderfully descriptive, but too slow. These life stories might be appreciated more in separate servings.
"Fabulous book story author and now with Audiobooks I enjoy the performance by s gifted performer. I will look up other books by"
Because the entire experience of being groped onto Sudan and Oliver Ward's world was challenging and spectacular thank you
Read this book when I was 30 years old and always remembered that it was very good. Now I've read it again at age 60 (actually listened) and I see that it's great. Listened during long walks on summer nights. The reader Mark Bramhall is superb.
I must read more Stegner! Very powerful story of a frontier life, and a modern interpretation of that very interesting life. Excellent narration, especially the female characters.
From what I have learned, Mr. Wallace Stegner pulled off a very difficult novel in Angle of Repose, a story inside another story, a Chinese box inside another box. This is very complicated thing to do, and this novel is an example of it being done very well.
The story line is about an invalid historian writing the story of his grandmother. This heroine was born and raised a sheltered daughter of a high class New England family who fell in love with a man determined to self educate as an engineer in the west of early settlement days just after Custer's day.
He went from job to job and did well but never made it big. His sheltered wife followed him wherever he went and did herself proud. However as life will, things get very complicated and she ends up making a tragic mistake that is unforgivable. I will let you find out about that for yourself, but I highly recommend that you do so.
Shame on the teachers who didn't expose me to this amazing marvel of a book and this gifted writer. Beautifully written, well performed, and more educational in terms of the early American West than anything I've read elsewhere. An under-appreciated American classic.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
Although I rarely comment on a book when I am only on chapter three, I must say something about this one, with the understanding that I will update it when I am finished with the book. I suppose I immediately resonated with the story because it hasn't been that long since my parents were aging and in wheelchairs as the protagonist is in this story. Or perhaps it is because I am starting to show signs of aging, and I can identify with the protagonist's thought processes. But ultimately, I believe I loved this book from the opening paragraphs because of the exquisite writing of Wallace Stegner. I hope it doesn't let me down as I complete the book. I have a feeling that it won't.
Ah Ha, It didn't let me down. I loved this book.
I very much wanted to like this book for several reasons: (1) I heard Andrew Imbrie's operatic treatment of the story during San Francisco Opera's "Spring Opera" season in 1976; (2) the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus has named their current 2011-2012 season "Angle of Repose" as a tribute to the author, Wallace Stegner; (3) it gets very good ratings in surveys of the best American books and is, in fact, #83 on the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels list. It even received a Pulitzer Prize.
Stegner is undeniably a fine prose stylist and the way he chooses to tell his story is rather complex and interesting, although this very narrative complexity undermined my willing suspension of disbelief. Everything is filtered through the imagination of a grouchy, socially reactionary scholar (who may or may not be a projection of Stegner) named Lyman Ward, who at age 60 is doing research on his grandmother, Susan, the long-suffering wife of a brave but congenital failure for whom nothing goes right in the wilds of California, Idaho, Colorado and Mexico in the late 1800's. Stegner has controversially "lifted" the actual letters of Mary Hallock Foote, the only authentic voice in the book. Her correspondence, quoted verbatim I am told, constitutes 10% of Stegner's finished novel. But then Lyman lets us know that he is inventing virtually everything else he tells us about his grandmother and grandfather, which for me, at least, creates an alienation effect I cannot quite overcome. The final dream sequence of the book is, I imagine, a metaphor for the whole thing. Interested readers are left to puzzle together how Lyman relates his broken marriage to the lasting bond of his grandparents.
I am especially interested in books that deal with women's issues and experiences, so I was moved by Susan's (Mary's) letters and the general tale of her fortitude raising a family and dealing with her husband in an environment so unlike that to which she would have liked to have been and could have been accustomed in the American East. The story itself, however, seems overly drawn out for the number of truly significant incidents that occur in it. The narrator, Lyman Ward, also lacked appeal for me, perhaps because I was a member of that very UC Berkeley generation he so continually disapproves of. A contrast between the current times and the past favor the heroism of the latter.
I was frequently extremely irritated by the reader, Mark Bramhall, who would be just fine if he did not adopt an absurd, breathy falsetto when reading Susan's words. She sounds more like a whining child than a mature woman. Oliver Ward comes off as sounding unpleasantly growly. But, my hat's off to these Audiobook readers; and I cannot imagine the challenges of reciting this long book out loud.
What else can be said about a novel that has gotten so much praise and attention? Deservedly for this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Particularly I like the tone Stegner sets up. Lyman is not trying to 'translate' his grandmother, he is trying to discover her, faults and all. Despite her duality, I liked Susan Ward and would have been proud to know her. The intimacy and delicacy of her marriage was laid as bare as Lyman could make it and I liked the veils he drew across some scenes and the details he filled in for others. The letters were worked in with good timing although I would have liked to see Augusta's side of the correspondence. What a transcendental relationship that was in a way. Reading just this one book will make me seek out more of Stegner's work. Narrator Mark Bramhall's dry, but nuanced delivery fit the tone of the writing and the pace of the story perfectly