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Angle of Repose Audiobook

Angle of Repose

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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 (947 )
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4.4 (750 )
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Performance
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  •  
    HDJ 10-24-12
    HDJ 10-24-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epic!"

    Angle of Repose presents an authentic picture of the western frontier told with the tenderness and visual poetry that I'm learning are Stegner's hallmarks. He can make you live history. You can smell it, taste it and feel it. At the end of this novel, I was left feeling I actually knew the people and places and can remember them. The icing on the cake was the perfect narration by Mark Bramhall.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drizzella MO 07-25-12

    drizzella

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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
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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
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 07-14-10
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 07-14-10 Member Since 2007
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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.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-25-17
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-25-17 Member Since 2017

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Give it some time..."

    One third through I was really questioning this being a truly great novel. It was not bad, but it lacked the depth I expect in a great book. By the very end, I understood why this won a Pulitzer. The novel wrapped up at the end more swiftly than I would have liked (I definitely wanted more story), but I understood that the story had done everything it needed to do for this novel. The NYT reviewer at the release was, at the end, convinced "an essential element was absent". I can understand this reviewer, but I disagree. The element is present but obscured.

    Angle of Repose is a term describing the slope of a granular pile at rest, after all the slipping and sliding has stopped. The novel explorers fate and choice, love and conflict, work and family, life and death, and finally considers what stands when all the slipping and sliding ends.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Potter Washington D.C. 01-31-16
    A. Potter Washington D.C. 01-31-16 Member Since 2017
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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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boysmom Alberta, Canada 09-19-15
    Boysmom Alberta, Canada 09-19-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Disappointed"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, I only recommend books I really like. I found my mind wondered a lot during the story, that the voice of the tale irritated me, and in jumped around too much in time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I think the story of Susan and her husband was interesting and would have held me had the author not get jumping around to present.half the time I felt like I was listening to the ramblings of the story teller, with little consideration for who was listening.


    What three words best describe Mark Bramhall’s performance?

    I found the narrators vouce, or maybe I should say, tone of voice, annoying after a while. I think he played the tone of a disgruntled older man well, but I'm afraid it was the voice ot the man he played that bugged me.


    Could you see Angle of Repose being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I could not imagine a movie.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Tehachapi, CA, United States 08-30-13
    Barbara Tehachapi, CA, United States 08-30-13
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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!<br/>

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bookmarque 04-17-12
    Bookmarque 04-17-12 Member Since 2007

    ksx2

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    "Heroes in need of worshipping"

    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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E. Gregson San Diego, CA USA 12-31-12
    David E. Gregson San Diego, CA USA 12-31-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Much touches the heart; much is problematic"
    Any additional comments?

    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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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