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Recapitulation Paperback – November 1, 1997


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Recapitulation + The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Peguin Classics) + Remembering Laughter
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wonderful . . . one comes out aware of universal human feelings that have nothing to do with time."
The Christian Science Monitor

"This is Stegner's The Sound and the Fury. Like the Faulkner novel, Recapitulation is abook about time and its multiplicity of meanings in human experience, about the history of a family and its decline . . ."
—Jackson J. Benson, author of Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140266739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140266733
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Bruce Mason, a diplomat and ambassador in his sixties, returns to Salt Lake City for the funeral of his aunt, who is the last remaining connection to a family history Mason has spent forty years avoiding. During the day and night he is there, he travels throughout Salt Lake, trying to locate landmarks from his troubled early life while reminiscing about the events which permanently influenced choices he made and directions he took as an adult. Gentle and reflective in tone, despite its scenes of sadness and disillusionment, this is a novel quite different from Stegner's epics, such as Angle of Repose and Big Rock Candy Mountain, with their enormous scope. Here, he creates what amounts to a memoir--a record of the life-changing experiences which one man, Mason, associates with his family, friends, and upbringing during the brief 24 hours he is in Salt Lake City.

Although this is supposed to be a sequel to Big Rock Candy Mountain, with the same main character, one need not have any familiarity with that book to enjoy this one, a book so introspective that one cannot help but wonder about the degree to which it is autobiographical. Like many of us who have outlived and, in some cases, out-achieved our parents, Mason finds his memories bittersweet. He is filled with resentment for the unintentional injuries and deliberate cruelties which made his youth and adolescence a misery. At the same time that he recognizes that he would never have been so motivated to achieve and escape had he not been so needy and so "hungry.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By geebs@erols.com on September 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
A beautifully written, powerful book. I'm sure in literary and high-minded ways in its entirety it all made sense. But on the basic level of reader and story, I felt cheated. The plot as constructed and pursued seemed to "promise" a delivery from page one that was not made. The unrequited reader! I was so immersed in the threads of his life and the characters from his past, I expected those last doors to open, long-delayed encounters to happen... Still, Stegner is masterful and I look forward to reading those of his books I haven't yet. 20 years ago I loved Big Rock Candy Mountain (yet had forgotten all the characters and did not realize this was a sequel until after). One of the most stunning pieces of writing I have ever encountered is his story of a winter cattle drive in Wolf Willow.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Being from the Salt Lake area I was utterly impressed with the reality with which Stegner portrays life in Utah. More amazing is the emotion Stegner elicits with beautiful language and imagery that leave the senses wanting. The dark history of Bruce Mason is an incredible journey through swamps of heartache. This is a book that will forever shape the decisions I make about the relationships that define me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Someone Else TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is like a coda written forty years after the symphony. If you haven't read The Big Rock Candy Mountain, I suggest you do so. Then, while it is still fresh in your mind, read Recapitulation. It fills in details left out of the first book and lets you get to know "Brucie" a lot better as he struggles through puberty and beyond in Salt Lake City. If you've grown attached to the Mason family through The Big Rock Candy Mountain, you'll find yourself wanting even more, as I did.

Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City forty-five years after fleeing in anger and pain. As he passes by the old landmarks, the memories of his formative years begin to coil around him and eventually crowd his mind and haunt his dreams. The novel is floaty and dreamy and sepia-toned, taking Bruce back to events and feelings from the 1920s-30s in no particular order. Stegner's approach is very true to the nature of memory and nostalgia, including the need to whitewash experiences or downplay our culpability for things that went sour.

I thought this was going to be the one Stegner novel I'd get through without crying, but he got me on the next to last page. I'm not sorry about that. I probably would have been disappointed if I'd finished it dry-eyed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
I am not very well versed in Stegner, although I did love Crossing to Safety. My wife bought Recapitulation for me and I loved every minute of it. He captured distant moments clearly and with laser-sharp sentiment.
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