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Angle of Repose (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – December 1, 2000
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“Masterful...Reading it is an experience to be treasured.”—Boston Globe
“Brilliant...Two stories, past and present, merge to produce what important fiction must: a sense of the enhancement of life.”—Los Angeles Times
“Cause for celebration...A superb novel with an amplitude of scale and richness of detail altogether uncommon in contemporary fiction.”—The Atlantic Monthly
About the Author
Wallace Stegner was born in 1909 in Lake Mills, Iowa. The son of Scandinavian immigrants, he traveled with his parents and brother all over the West-to North Dakota, Washington, Saskatchewan, Montana, and Wyoming-before settling in Salt Lake City in 1921. Many of the landscapes he encountered in his peripatetic youth figure largely in his work, as do characters based on his stern father and athletic, outgoing brother. Stegner received most of his education in Utah, graduating from the University in 1930. He furthered his education at the University of Iowa, where he received a master's and a doctoral degree. He married Mary Stuart Page in 1934, and for the next decade the couple followed Wallace's teaching career-to the University of Wisconsin, Harvard, and eventually to Stanford University, where he founded the creative writing program, and where he was to remain until his retirement in 1971. A number of his creative writing students have become some of today's most well respected writers, including Wendell Berry, Thomas McGuane, Raymond Carver, Edward Abbey, Robert Stone, and Larry McMurty.
Throughout his career and after, Stegner's literary output was tremendous. His first novel, Remembering Laughter, was published in 1937. By the time of his death in 1993 he had published some two dozen works of fiction, history, biography, and essays. Among his many literary prizes are the Pulitzer Prize for Angle of Repose (1971) and the National Book Award for The Spectator Bird (1976). His collection of essays, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs (1992), was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award.
Although his fiction deals with many universal themes, Stegner is primarily recognized as a writer of the American West. Much of his literature deals with debunking myths of the West as a romantic country of heroes on horseback, and his passion for the terrain and its inhabitants have earned him the title 'The Dean of Western Letters'. He was one of the few true Men of Letters in this generation. An historian, essayist, short story writer and novelist, as well as a leading environmental writer. Although always connected in people's minds with the West, he had a long association with New England. Many short stories and one of his most successful novels, Crossing to Safety, are set in Vermont, where he had a summer home for many years. Another novel, The Spectator Bird, takes place in Denmark.
An early environmentalist, he actively championed the region's preservation and was instrumental-with his now-famous 'Wilderness Letter'-in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Honest and straightforward, educated yet unpretentious, cantankerous yet compassionate, Wallace Stegner was an enormous presence in the American literary landscape, a man who wrote and lived with ferocity, energy, and integrity.
Jackson J. Benson teaches American Literature at San Diego State University. His biography, The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer, won the PEN USA West award for nonfiction. He lives in La Mesa, California.
Top customer reviews
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Lyman Ward looses himself in writing about his Grandmother, not only to forget about his troubles, but also to understand himself better. To find strength, or answers, in how to deal with what life has thrown his way.
Well done Stegner, you just got yourself a new fan!
the Eastern establishment is from whence literature stems. Wallace Stegner has taken me on a tour of how the West was settled, by whom
and why and when and what ... all the loves and families and problems ... I recommend this book without reservation. I am glad I own it.
The only challenge for me was the sometimes awkward transitions between time frames and perspective. This book is a must read.
* Angle of Repose is beautifully written and brings to life the story, the time and the place.
* I found the novel to be deeply introspective on both Lyman and his grandparents. Lyman, in particular, was fascinating. I found myself wanting the story to toggle back to him more frequently as the story moved from history to present.
* Stegner brilliantly portrays his grandfather as chasing the American Dream - a good stable home for his family - doing something meaningful in life - living a life with hard work, integrity and honesty.
5* - I rated this book a full 5 stars with an asterisk. Stegner labors of the details over the first 15 years of marriage and then slams home that last 40 years.
* I did not find this story to be a page turner. While the novel was often times emotionally moving, there were many passages that I found to be very slow and meandering - - and particularly so with the deep, wide and extended descriptions of the environment and settings - these passages could have used some hair scissors to thin (heresy statement I know for what some describe one of the top 100 books of all time). Nonetheless, this is a great book that will stay with me for some time.
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