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)
I have enjoyed everything except for the whiny tone of voice of Susan.
I think the reader is actually quite good but I wonder if a female reader might have given Susan a stronger voice. How could such an adventurous, resourceful, intelligent and talented woman be so whiny. Much of what she says in the book could have been spoken in a less annoying tone.
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!
This is a wonderful reading. Mark Bramhall sounds just like Wallace Stegner. It's like having that wonderful man right beside me.
This story provides a good historical perspective from a personal and family level but largely fails in its aim to do more. The title is a mining or geological term meaning the slope of a hill resulting from falling matter, here applied to a retired academic working on a bio of his grandmother, mostly, who was a minor writer and sketch artist in late-19th Century New York and New England, and his capable, even inventive and ambitious but flawed westerner grandfather. His voice is a little prissy and the grandmother comes across as a bit of a whiner, when not defensive (to her friends). Some nice connections between his Victorian Grandparents and the crassness and loose morals of his son, divorced wife, and the hippy daughter of his helper. The narrator does a good job assuming the author's voice, sometimes annoyingly so.
I love Wallace Stegner's writing and have enjoyed his other stories. This one, however, is not my favorite. It's about an old curmudgeon historian that writes about his great-grandmother's life in the old West. The historical accuracy is just perfect. I learned a lot about how life was back in the late 1880's in Colorado, California, etc. But, what I did not like was the going back and forth to the 1970's from where the story is told. It was a bit depressing.
If there is a poorly-wrought sentence, a partially-realized character, or false note in this book, I missed it. There is an authenticity in the emotion and behavior of the characters the equal of which is seldom attained.
Mark Bramhall let the author speak through him, and remained invisible, as any good reader should.
I think Wallace Stegner writes with a controlled elegance that is thrilling. So many times I'd replay certain paragraphs to better absorb the beauty of his descriptions. I'd highly recommend this book to any lover of words. He's the consummate wordsmith. I'll probably read this book sometime in the future as I hate saying goodbye to this wonderfully drawn characters. It's a 10!
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