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Remembering Laughter Paperback – November 1, 1996
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The New York Times
"There is no use to mention the assurance and calm that Mr. Stegner brings to his first bookit has to be read to be believed."
"I thought Remembering Laughter a perfect little novel, clean, swift and assured, and I can still feel the weight of the disaster in it."
Top Customer Reviews
Stegner is one of the best American writers that hardly anybody knows, and this is probably one of his most underrated works. "Haunting" and "poignant" are two words that I almost always find myself using when describing Stegner's novels, and this novella is clearly in that category. This book is a great intro to Stegner. _Crossing to Safety_ and _The Spectator Bird_ are better, but in economy of words, this one holds its own.
For those of you who have never read Stegner, this is a great place to start. For those of you who have read Stegner, this is a delight to read. It's possible to see in this book the genesis of all of the stylistic techniques that Stegner would later employ to such great effect.
I regularly give this book to friends as a gift, usually in the hopes that they will also discover the joy of reading Wallace Stegner.
Stegner writes a straight-forward tale, giving personality to Iowa landscape and seasons much like Willa Cather did in her novels and stories. For this, he is clearly one of the West's better writers.
What stays with you after reading this tale is the horror of shame and then the loneliness of shamelessness. Each character lives in his or her shadows until the spell is broken by the son: Malcolm.
This story is the iceberg's tip in morality and the shame that lost decisions bring with them. Just because this novel is brief does not mean that it is light. Read it for a quick study in morality, grief, shame, and love.
"Remembering Laughter" certainly was a very auspicious beginning to Stegner's career. But it cries out for more. Written as a novella for a contest, it has a powerful beginning and ending, but the middle--the years of family emotion bottled up, corroding relationships and love, gets short shrift. I wish he'd tackled it again, building it into something more.
Still, if you're a fan, the story will resonate in your heart and the book belongs on your shelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many of the themes that are prominent in later Stegner books are found in Remembering Laughter---loneliness,betrayal, repression. It is an absorbing book.Published 5 months ago by Ann Daley
Sad, insightful. Early Stegner, so significantly different from his later works. I loved it as I do everything he has written.Published 6 months ago by C. Carland
So rich and wonderful .Wallace Stegner at his best.The prose such a joy to read and a story as old and as new as today.Published 7 months ago by Bernard Galler
Short novel about the price of shame. It really is a haunting story that will leave you mulling over the possibilities of what could have been.Published 7 months ago by travel lover
I have read most of Wallace Stegner's books and this one showed up. I love getting caught up in his characters and can picture them in my mind as I read his books. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Marianne
A short but beautifully written story of love, family and how people can break themselves and each other. This is the first book I've read by this author but it won't be the last.Published 7 months ago by Amy Gibbons