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.
"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)
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.
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.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Let's just say this up front: I love this book. It is on my top 10 list of all time. I have read it in print a number of times. These characters are so real to me and the writing is pure Stegner - gorgeous, sparse, western, insightful. I believe, as do many others, it was one of the finest books written in the 20th century. I know I'm gushing. I can't help it. No other book makes me feel quite the same way.
I have avoided downloading this because I just knew no one could ever get those voices like I heard them in my mind's ear. I was wrong. Mark Bramhall's narration is beautifully nuanced. He hits every note just right. He's a perfect Susan and a gruff old miner, too. Few narrators could nail the breadth of characters without resorting to caricatures. He does it brilliantly. I loved listening to every word and sometimes had to go back just so I could hear it again.
Bunches of people have written about this book and the topics Stegner addresses. Though he says at one point it's a book about a marriage, I'm not so sure. I think it's about hope, forgiveness, grief, and soldiering on. Perhaps you'll find it's about something else entirely. I just know this: if you've never read this book, you are in for a treat. You can experience the awe that comes from discovering Stegner for the first time.
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!
This is a wonderful reading. Mark Bramhall sounds just like Wallace Stegner. It's like having that wonderful man right beside me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Telecommuter living outside of San Francisco, CA. I listen to books while walking my dog, quilting, and doing chores around the house.
This was the first Stegner book I read and it was a great introduction. Great story brought to life by the talented Mark Bramhall. A classic!
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.
I would definitely listen to the book again. There are so many levels on which the book can be viewed. The story is so engaging. I think that the fact that much of it was based on the life of real people adds to the appeal of the book.
I won't give it away but the book has a terrifically interesting ending that will keep you guessing.
I particularly liked how he read the character of Lyman Ward, the main narrator of the story.
I found myself not wanting to stop in certain sections. However, it would be far too long of a book to finish all at once.
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