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Angle of Repose Audiobook

Angle of Repose

Wallace Stegner's uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, and husbands and wives.
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1971, Angle of Repose has also been selected by the editorial board of the Modern Library as one of the hundred best novels of the 20th century.

Wallace Stegner's uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, and husbands and wives. Like other great quests in literature, Lyman Ward's investigation leads him deep into the dark shadows of his own life. The result is a deeply moving novel that, through the prism of one family, illuminates the American present against the fascinating background of its past.

Set in many parts of the West, Angle of Repose is a story of discovery - personal, historical, and geographical - that endures as Wallace Stegner's masterwork: an illumination of yesterday's reality that speaks to today's.

©1971 Wallace Stegner; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Brilliant....Two stories, past and present, merge to produce what important fiction must: a sense of the enhancement of life." (Los Angeles Times)
"Masterful...Reading it is an experience to be treasured." (Boston Globe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (715 )
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4.4 (537 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Drizzella MO 07-25-12

    drizzella

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterful writing; a great adventure"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys literary fiction. Stegner's language is vivid, startling, and inspiring. His story of a woman's experience in the American West as the nation changed from 1860s to 1890s is riveting. It's not the West of cowboys and Indians, but the scarcely frontier where mining corporations are trying to stake a claim. His commentary on life in the 1970s is also intriguing. Excellent work.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Stegner's language is the work of a master writer and storyteller.


    What does Mark Bramhall bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Bramhall's reading is the one problem I have with the story. He has to do a number of voices as well as narrate and his narrator voice is spot-on. It captures the character well. His female voices are disappointing and especially for Susan, the main character. His vocal interpretation suggests a weak, overly feminine, and submissive woman, while she is far from that. I would have preferred a stronger, less caricatured portray.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wouldn't suggest it; it's long! But I definitely wanted to know what would happen next.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madeline Butler 05-07-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A rich story, beautifully read"

    A rich and beautiful book about a marriage, motherhood, and friendship. While the story takes place years ago, there is still so much to relate to today. Not a happy story, but a realistic one. I still am surprised this was written by a man.. his perspective is amazing.The reader was fantastic.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Tehachapi, CA, United States 08-30-13
    Barbara Tehachapi, CA, United States 08-30-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Good"
    Any additional comments?

    I loved this audiobook! Interesting, with some really insightful observations made by the main character. Highly recommend. The visual would probably be PG except for two places probably rated R if that's a problem for you. I thought it was sooooooo good!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    thepoet 04-03-13
    thepoet 04-03-13 Member Since 2011

    chewyluka

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    Story
    "One of the Great American Novels"

    The Story:
    A wheelchair bound grandson assembles the notes & letters of his grandmother to piece together her family's travels into the west in the 1800's.

    If you thought Steinbeck held a monopoly on classic California historical fiction, you haven't listend (read) to this masterpiece. Without exception, Stegner's writing in this novel is taut & unquestionably beautiful, what this man can do in a line will fill your imagination. His weaving of the early West and this family's struggles, successes, and failures creates the most realized version of the period to date. His characters, flawed, opinionated, frustrating, forgiving, & funny leap out of the earbuds (off the page) becoming people you've known, people you care deeply about. His phrasing drives this tale with a truly human bend to every action, line of dialogue and motivation. This isn't my normal go to book and was extremely happy for the recommendation. This is a book that earned every bit of the Pulitzer that it won.

    The Narrator:
    Mark Bramhall tackles this book with the dedication of someone who deeply understands the beauty, depth, and life within this book. Leading with the story's narrator, there was little doubt that he could handle this character with the tone, timber and age in his voice. It's with the female voices that he lends the passion and sympathy that really surprised me. A narrator can make or break a book, consider me a huge fan.

    The Sum:
    I was recommended this book and accepted it without knowing a single thing about it. The breadth of this story, characters, time & place left me with a renewed hope in what this format is capable of. I was excited to move back into this world with each listen, as each chapter unfolded. Give this book a chance, it will surprise you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 07-14-10
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 07-14-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "On many of the Top 100 Lists, now I know why!"

    Excellent book. Really enjoyed it. It not only makes you feel like you invested your listening time well, but it also makes you reflect on your ancestors and your own family histories. Highly recommended.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. M. Potter Washington D.C. 01-31-16
    A. M. Potter Washington D.C. 01-31-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Frustratingly brilliant"
    Any additional comments?

    Throughout this giant, sometimes bloated, novel, I kept wondering, what will redeem this epic of misfortune? There is little reward for the main character of the novel within the novel, the narrator’s grandmother, Susan Ward, who suffers a volley of hardship and losses. The narrator, Lyman Ward, a grumpy, legless retired professor, circles decades of his grandmother's pained life like water to a drain. And yet still, the language brims with colorful imagery and physicality, and the story lines, though small at first, tug and whip like the reigns of a stubborn mule, hooking the reader through the plodding landscape of a rugged Western frontier, full of promise and disappointment. I hated to like this book and hated Wallace Stegner for sitting me down like a child, restless and impatient, so he could tell the story in his own, old-man way, taking his time as if in creaky rocking chair with nowhere to go, puffing on a cigar and exhaling smoke ring vignettes for my eyes to follow and then watch disappear. There are no traditional story arcs. No tidy beginning or end. There is the narrator, a man who has loved and lost much, longing to understand his own life through the calamities and misfortunes of his ancestors, hoping that through them, he can find meaning and courage to keep living. Sigh. Did I love it? No. Did I appreciate its immense beauty, language mastery, and emotional depth? Absolutely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Adler 08-01-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Something changed."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shirley Church 06-25-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Moving tribute to lives led, unexpectedly"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 05-15-15
    Stephen 05-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    "one of the best books I have ever read."

    Stegner is a master story teller weaving a tale of the west with the complexity of marriage and life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dal CARY, NC, United States 06-15-14
    dal CARY, NC, United States 06-15-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Agree with The Modern Library 100 Great Novels"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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