- Paperback: 672 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (November 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1101872764
- ISBN-13: 978-1101872765
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (500 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Angle of Repose Paperback – November 4, 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
This long, thoughtful novel about a retired historian who researches and writes about his pioneer grandparents garnered Stegner a Pulitzer Prize.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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
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Top customer reviews
Wallace Stegner is a fantastic writer, and I agree the book deserved a Pulitzer. However, to really appreciate it, you have to bring all of your energy, and that's a lot to ask for 630 pages. I read closely for the first 300 pages or so, and then I just gave up and enjoyed the story. This is unfortunate, but I can't go back and reread it two or three times, as others have done, just to do it justice. Angle of Repose deserves its own semester course.
At times the story is tedious, and at times, it's breathtaking, as with the scene where the hard-charging stagecoach almost shoves Oliver and Susan over a cliff. I valued the descriptions of the towns in which Oliver and Susan lived in the late 19th century. You get a real sense of how America developed and what it took to create such a place! The humans were both heroic and deficient. Although Oliver was almost superhuman, this strong, silent archetype exacted a price from himself and everyone around him for his rigidity. Also, I despaired at Susan's weakness of character, and the way she didn't value her husband or her son. Yet most of the time she was just trying to do the right thing. Everyone was!
In fact, one of the themes of this book was "perseverance in the face of continued and utter failure." My God, the negativity. There is so much deprivation, hardship, and loss. I was dying for something good to happen to these poor people. Yet I couldn't stop reading, which is a plus for the dramatic pull of the story.
The whole novel is ultimately about Ward's need to grow and change. I wasn't in love with the way this book wraps up. I felt it was the weakest part of the story! Ward finally comes to an understanding about himself, but it's wrought by a too-long dream sequence (a dream? please.) and a too abrupt conclusion when he awakens. Would I recommend this book? Yes, for students of American history. For writers, who want to learn how to craft a scene or adopt a compelling voice (Ward's). For the pleasure of giving oneself over to a gifted artist. But don't expect to hurry.
The novel opens as retired historian, Larry Ward, is setting about writing an account of his grandparents' lives and failed marriage. Acrimoniously divorced himself from his own wife, he learns in the process of writing that, in fact, he is really writing about marriage and marital infidelities.
"What really interests me," he tells his son, "is how two such unlike particles clung together, and under what strains, rolling downhill into their future until they reached the angle of repose where I knew them."
The story of Ward's grandparents in the Western frontier is both richly romantic and heartbreakingly tragic. In short, Angle of Repose is an elegantly delivered, old-fashioned page turner. The novel's take-away -- that forgiveness and unconditional love are essential for a marriage to work -- is one we all can benefit from.
Set up as a frame story, the novel is also about the man who chronicles this history of his forebearers--and the ultimate healing that his research allows him to find. A GREAT read, compelling, irresistible, The Angle of Repose explores our drive to discover and create, as it refuses to divide its characters from their greatness OR their flaws. The deeply layered novel catches my breath; a novel to treasure, to read again and again. Of all Stegner's of Stegner's novels, each a powerful masterpiece, this is the one you do not want to miss!