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The Start of Stegner
on February 21, 2014
I confess to being a dyed-in-the-wall Wallace Stegner fan. "Angle of Repose" may just be the best-written book I've ever read, and in many ways, the semi-autobiographical "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is the saddest. His use of language and his deep understanding of the human condition make his books powerful and memorable.
"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.