Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose

Paperback - 2014
Average Rating:
11
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Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is the story of four generations in the life of an American family. A wheelchair-bound retired historian embarks on a monumental quest: to come to know his grandparents, now long dead. The unfolding drama of the story of the American West sets the tone for Stegner's masterpiece.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, a division of Random House LLC, 2014
Edition: First Vintage Books edition
Copyright Date: ©1971
ISBN: 9781101872765
1101872764
Branch Call Number: STEGNER W
Characteristics: xxxiii, 632 pages ; 21 cm

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lukasevansherman
Aug 10, 2017

I like Wallace Stegner, but found this book hard to get into and, frankly, long and a bit tedious (well over 500 pages). It did win the Pulitzer, so clearly I'm in the minority. I prefer "The Big Rock Candy Mountain." Aside from fiction, Stegner wrote extensively about the West.

s
snarski
Apr 25, 2017

I'm very sorry to have to say this about Wallace Stegner--father of American wilderness and all--but I'll be saving this one for retirement. Big Rock Candy Mountain was so life changing I was really looking forward to losing myself in another Stegner novel. But this book is so slow and didn't hold my interest at all. I barely put a dent in it before it was due back at the library.

d
DorisWaggoner
Jan 19, 2016

I suppose it's unfair to withhold half a star because I often wanted to, as another reviewer put it, shake both Oliver and Susan Ward. And their grandson Lyman Ward, the narrator of the framing sections of the book. Still, I began by reading the book slowly, savoring it for its many perfections and felicities of language. Then I got impatient and wanted to know "how it all turns out" and stayed up way too late one night to finish it. Fortunately, I soon found a used copy to buy. I plan to reread it, slowly, savoring the whole thing, to see if I can figure out how Stegner pulls off this magic. Susan, Oliver, Lyman, and the other main characters and so many walk-ons are so clearly drawn. He has a way of making complex, imperfect people compelling. He also shows how they change. Susan, for instance, writes letters to her friend Augusta in NYC, whom she doesn't see for years. To her she pours out her heart about her joys and sorrows. While she tells Augusta how much she hates the West, how much she holds her self above it, she is changing slowly into a Westerner. She's not the same kind of Westerner as her husband Oliver, and that's part of their tragedy. But she's become a true Westerner. Lyman, who knew them both when he was a child, is aware of that, and sees it in her writing. A truly beautiful book.

c
crstcampbell
May 15, 2015

Stegner has totally annotated my life with his books. I go back through them and re-read my favorite quotes because he can sum up complex feelings beautifully - feelings I couldn't bumble out in any kind of coherent way. This is my fav book of his. His portraits of life are masterful. An american author that doesn't get his due.

s
st126
May 13, 2014

One of those books to be read slowly and savored. Stegner is a master.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

Stegner won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his novel about a retired historian who researches and writes about his pioneer grandparents and the American West. A slow moving story that seamlessly weaves the past and the present as the professor confronts his own history and failed marriage. A book to be slowly savored, from one of America’s finest novelists.

j_wilson22 Mar 01, 2013

Kind of boring

r
ralphdyer
Sep 09, 2012

It has been a while since a book has made me tear up; but, this one did. One of the better novels that I have read. Well worth it.

r
rab1953
Aug 02, 2012

A really interesting portrait of life in the early years of the American West. Susan and Oliver are interesting characters with diverse, complex motives. Sometimes you want to give one or other of them a shake and say Smarten up, but you know it's how they are, and they are not going to change. (Much like real people I know.) The contemporary historian looking at their lives adds another element, as he shares some of the patterns of their lives, and perhaps learns from them in dealing with his own troubling relationships. (Though it's a bit odd to look back on a conservative 1971 view of the social changes taking place in the USA of the 1960s and '70s.) Very engrossing and illuminating.

p
PrairieStar
Feb 09, 2012

This is one of my all-time favorite books read about 30 years ago!

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