Angle of Repose

( 63 )

Overview

Wallace Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a story of discovery—personal, historical, and geographical. Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an ...

See more details below
Paperback
$15.05
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$17.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (56) from $1.99   
  • New (15) from $9.46   
  • Used (41) from $1.99   
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

Wallace Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a story of discovery—personal, historical, and geographical. Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family.

Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel--the magnificent story of four generations in the life of an American family. A wheelchair-bound retired historian embarks on a monumental quest: to come to know his grandparents, now long dead. The unfolding drama of the story of the American West sets the tone for Stegner's masterpiece.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This long, thoughtful novel about a retired historian who researches and writes about his pioneer grandparents garnered Stegner a Pulitzer Prize. (July)
Booknews
A reprint of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel first published by Doubleday, 1971. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Publishers Weekly
It is at first disconcerting that the narrator sounds half the age of the author's narrator: Lyman Ward is an elderly, severely crippled historian at odds with his wife and children over his ability to live alone and write. But Mark Bramhall's comparative youth is soon forgotten as he leads us into the saga of intertwined generations. His pacing, his characterizations, and his convincing emotional repertoire embed us in this 1971 Pulitzer Prize winner that is in no way dated. Stegner's heroine is Ward's grandmother, Susan Burling Ward, a 19th-century writer and artist living in the rough mining towns of the West with her idealistic engineer husband. Bramhall's Susan is sometimes too girlish, but this, too, is a small matter; overall, he offers us a fine reading of a superb book. A Penguin Classics paperback. (Mar.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141185477
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 557
  • Sales rank: 75,640
  • Product dimensions: 5.07 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Among the other novels of Wallace Stegner (1909--1993) are The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943), Joe Hill (1950), All the Little Live Things (1967), The Spectator Bird (1976); Recapitulation (1979), and Crossing to Safety (1987). From 1945 to 1971 Stegner taught at Stanford University, where the writing program is named after him.

Biography

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.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Wallace Earle Stegner (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1909
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lake Mills, Iowa
    1. Date of Death:
      April 13, 1993
    2. Place of Death:
      Santa Fe, New Mexico

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Wallace Stegner has said of his epic novel, "It's perfectly clear that if every writer is born to write one story, that's my story." It is a testament to the power of Stegner's prose and vision that Angle of Repose, winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, can be appreciated as America's story as well. Based on the correspondence of the little-known 19th century writer, Mary Hallock Foote, the novel's heroes represent opposing but equally strong strains of the American ideal. Susan Burling Ward is refined, educated, and strong-willed. Her husband, Oliver, is a handsome adventurer of cruder habits, who brings a pistol when he comes courting, yet who is humbled in the presence of Susan's sophistication. As we follow Susan on her first journey across the young country—"not to join a new society but to endure it"—we experience the West through the eyes of a true easterner, horrified at the lack of culture, the quickly fabricated cities, the dust, dirt and heat. Susan eventually finds herself able to appreciate the raw beauty of her new surroundings, and is even successful in building comfortable homes for her family. Yet throughout her married life she defines herself through her east coast roots, debating Oliver's worthiness as a husband and provider, and assessing what she has given up in exchange for a life of adventure and uncertainty.

 

ABOUT WALLACE STEGNER

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.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What do you think of Stegner's narrative technique, i.e., his use of a contemporary historian to tell Susan Ward's story? Is Lyman Ward a reliable narrator? How would this novel be different if Lyman's own story were excluded?
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction by Jackson J. Benson

Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
Part I: Grass Valley
Part II: New Almaden
Part III: Santa Cruz
Part IV: Leadville
Part V: Michoacán
Part VI: On the Bough
Part VII: The Canyon
Part VIII: The Mesa
Part IX: The Zodiac Cottage

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Angle of Repose
by Wallace Stegner

INTRODUCTION

ABOUT THE TITLE

Wallace Stegner has said of his epic novel, "It's perfectly clear that if every writer is born to write one story, that's my story." It is a testament to the power of Stegner's prose and vision that Angle of Repose, winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, can be appreciated as America's story as well. Based on the correspondence of the little-known 19th century writer, Mary Hallock Foote, the novel's heroes represent opposing but equally strong strains of the American ideal. Susan Burling Ward is refined, educated, and strong-willed. Her husband, Oliver, is a handsome adventurer of cruder habits, who brings a pistol when he comes courting, yet who is humbled in the presence of Susan's sophistication. As we follow Susan on her first journey across the young country—"not to join a new society but to endure it"—we experience the West through the eyes of a true easterner, horrified at the lack of culture, the quickly fabricated cities, the dust, dirt and heat. Susan eventually finds herself able to appreciate the raw beauty of her new surroundings, and is even successful in building comfortable homes for her family. Yet throughout her married life she defines herself through her east coast roots, debating Oliver's worthiness as a husband and provider, and assessing what she has given up in exchange for a life of adventure and uncertainty.

In Susan and Oliver's numerous disappointments and incidents of misfortune we find Stegner exposing the myth of America's west as a land of golden opportunity and fear less cowboys. It is a theme we find in many of his novels, along with a passionate appreciation of the western landscape. Indeed, Stegner's most magnificent writing can be found in his descriptions of the mountain peaks, deep canyons, winding ravines, and vast stretches of plain and prairie. The terrain becomes a character in its own right, deserving of fear and respect, forcing its will on the people who carve their homes out of its resistant rock and soil. But we must not label Stegner merely a regional writer. To do so would overlook his technical brilliance, which shines through in this novel in his choice of narrator: retired historian Lyman Ward, whose degenerative bone disease has confined him to a wheelchair and left him unable to move his head from side to side. Lyman's literal tunnel vision elucidates the figurative—as an historian he looks to the past, and as a disillusioned husband and father, he finds solace in it. But, as he discovers in the course of researching his grandmother's biography, even he cannot escape the present and some measure of self-examination.

Without Lyman's narrative input, Susan Burling Ward's story would have flattened into epic melodrama; his perspective broadens the novel's scope, and enables us to draw parallels between Susan's life and his own, between her century and ours. Although the term 'angle of repose' refers to a resting point, Stegner's novel, if nothing else, helps us recognize America as a nation in constant flux, engaged in incessant struggle between east and west, between young and old, between myth and reality, between reaching for one's dreams, and settling for less. Angle of Repose was written during a time of tremendous political and social upheaval in America, and Lyman's frequent reflections on the era create much of the tension in the novel. Yet some twenty years after its publication the character's personal histories continue to be relevant and edifying. They are America's stories, part of her past and present—undoubtedly part of her future.

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.





DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What do you think of Stegner's narrative technique, i.e., his use of a contemporary historian to tell Susan Ward's story? Is Lyman Ward a reliable narrator? How would this novel be different if Lyman's own story were excluded?
  2. Stegner's narrator is confined to a wheelchair and partially paralyzed. He cannot move his head to either side, and thus can only look straight ahead. How does Stegner use these limitations to shape Lyman's role as a narrator and biographer? What is Stegner saying about the past and future?
  3. How much of Susan Ward's destiny was determined by the era in which she lived and the limitations that era placed on a woman's freedom? Do you think of her as a woman ahead of her time?
  4. Throughout the novel, Susan is torn between her old life on the east coast and her new one on the west. To each of her western homes she strives to bring a sense of gentility and comfort, even in the most rudimentary of circumstances. Her cabin in Leadville, for instance, becomes a magnet for the town's cultural elite despite the cramped quarters. Are the efforts futile or worthwhile? Do you applaud her attempts at civilizing the West or is she merely unable to accept another way of life for what it is? Is there a fundamental difference between America's two coasts today?
  5. Stegner eliminates any concrete evidence of Susan's infidelity with Frank Sargent, leaving Lyman the task of piecing together the events that led up to Agnes's death. Why are these details left deliberately obscure? Does this heighten or mitigate the effects of Agnes's death on the story? Is Lyman being fair to Susan in his depiction of these events?
  6. Susan often wonders if she made the right decision in marrying Oliver. Would someone like Thomas Hudson have brought her more happiness? What do you imagine Susan's life would have been like if she had stayed in the East? How did her years in the West shape her character?
  7. Why does the novel end with Susan's return to Idaho? Why is it significant that the details of her life in the house in Grass Valley are given to us through the present only?
  8. Do you think Lyman identifies more with his grandmother or his grandfather? How do the various aspects of his present situation—i.e., age, physical disability, marriage, career—compare and contrast to those of his grandparents?
  9. The geologic term 'angle of repose', defines the angle of the slope at which debris will cease rolling downhill and settle in one place, as in a landslide. Why do you think Stegner chose this term for the title of his novel? By the end of the novel, has Lyman reached his own angle of repose? How does he change over the course of the summer in which this novel takes place?
  10. Stegner's novels are known for their strong sense of place. What role does the terrain in the West play in Angle of Repose? Would you consider the land to be a 'character' in the novel? Can you describe this character in human terms?
  11. The story of America's western expansion has been told in myriad ways, but often with the same details: danger and hardships, brave but crude pioneers, and get-rich-quick schemes peddled by untrustworthy scam artists. How do Susan and Oliver's experiences compare and contrast with these myths of the American West? How is each a hero in his or her own right? How are they different from the stereotypical western hero?
  12. Angle of Repose was written in 1971, during a period of great upheaval in America's social and political culture. How does Stegner's novel reflect the issues that were prevalent at the time of his writing? What are the parallels, if any, between Susan Ward's story and that of Shelly Hawkes? How does each woman represent her own era? Is either story as relevant today?



RELATED TITLES

Fiction

All the Little Live Things

Scarred by the senseless death of their son and baffled by the engulfing chaos of the 1960's, retired literary agent Joe Allston and his wife, Ruth, leave home for a California retreat. What first looks like Eden soon becomes littered with a handful of cunning serpents.

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Bo Mason, his wife Elsa, and their two sons drift in poverty while seeking fortune through the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.

The Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner

Tales of young love and older wisdom, order and consistency of the natural world, and contradictions of the human being are beautifully recognized in this unique collection.

Crossing to Safety

This story of the remarkable friendship between the Langs and the Morgans explores such things as writing for money, solid marriages, and academic promotions.

Remembering Laughter

A prosperous Iowa farmer's wife turns to the bottle and becomes embittered by those who try to help her and her family.

A Shooting Star

Sabrina Castro follows a downward spiral of moral disintegration as she wallows in regret over her dissatisfaction with her older and successful husband.

Spectator Bird

Retired literary agent Joe Allston journeys back to the birthplace of his mother after having lost both of his parents and his son.

Nonfiction

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian

The account of the life of John Wesley Powell, distinguished ethnologist and geologist who explored the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, and homeland of Indian tribes of the American Southwest.

Joe Hill

The story of 'Joe Hill the Wobbly Bard' who was executed for the alleged murder of a Salt Lake City businessman in 1915.

Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs

A collection of sixteen essays about family migration through the boom and bust towns of the West during the early twentieth century.

Wolf Willow

A recollection of Stegner's early years growing up in the beautiful frontier of Cypress Hills in southern Saskatchewan from 1914-1920.

Also Available:

Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work
Jackson J. Benson

Winner of the 1996 David Wooley and Beatrice Cannon Evans Biography Award, this definitive biography of Wallace Stegner is "accomplished and fascinating . . . Benson's admiring biography will gain for Stegner a new generation of readers."

—Jay Parini, The Boston Globe

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    My favorite Wallace Stegner Book

    My mom got me started on Wallace Stegner with The Big Rock Candy Mountain. I went on to read almost all of his novels. This is my favorite by far. He does tend to go on and on about the landscape, I skimmed over alot of those parts. The story itself though is worth it. I thought about this book for probably a good month after I finished it. I will read it again someday.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2000

    Intriguing double story line

    I enjoyed this book mainly because of the development of the characters.The narrator's life has become limited by his physical condition and he explores his world through the lives of others. He struggles for independence in a dependent body. He begins to live the story he is researching and writing from his grandparents letters. He draws us into their lives as they leave a cultured life in the East to find a life in the West. The reader becomes involved with their struggles to survive and to love each other. At the same time we become involved with the narrator and his personal demons of pain, limitation and isolation. The story flows back and forward through time and relationships and all the while feels real and solid-like the title of the book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2004

    Brilliant ... Beautiful ... Blessed

    This novel can't be over-praised. It's courageous, lacks cant, is packed with human sensitivity without compromising its literary integrity to political correctness. AND it's simply tremendous art -- something of which there's too little in contemporary literature. Treat yourself to this one folks, you'll be reading a work they'll be teaching as a literary classic in 100 years.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2003

    Stegner's Pulitzer Prize Winner

    I read this novel after having enjoyed one of his other works, 'Crossing to Safety'. I enjoyed this novel and am awed by Stegner's abilities to paint a picture of 2 very different eras in time and the people who lived in them. Both eras are historical to a modern reader as the narrator is a retired professor dealing with the radical changes in the 1970s. I do however believe that I enjoyed 'Crossing to Safety' more as this book was very long and it seems that the same themes were hammered away at too frequently.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2000

    Heartbreaking, yet hopeful...

    This book pulled me up and down, and ultimately entranced me with its interwoven tales of love, history and family relationships. I had expected a happy ending (hence, the 'Angle of Repose' which I thougth this was leading to), but ended up developing a new understanding of love, expectations, and forgiveness. I couldn't help thinking about these characters and their situations long after I finished, and had to go back and re-read many parts to appreciate how fiinely crafted this book is.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2007

    Not as good as I expected

    I do agree that Stegner has the ability to describe an era wholly and beautifully such that the reader can actually 'be' there. But, there were times when I thought the narrative would never end. It became tedious to read at times and I had to force myself to finish it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2006

    A pleasure to read.

    Read this book if you savor fine description of an environent and characters that live and breath.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2000

    Extremely Beautifully written

    I loved it but I did not love it as much as Crossing to Safety. Too much description of the desolate desert and extremely long-winded on the difference between Oliver and his wife - I get the point.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2000

    a great novel about the American West

    'Angle of Repose' has the ingredients of great fiction -- precise depiction of scenery and states of mind without being overbearing about it (Stegner writes primarily as a historian, not as a psychological novelist) and a concentration on dramatic incident and decision. The book is flawed by being a bit too long, but the length is necessary in order to establish the background for Susan's fateful decision. The parallel stories also add to the novel's sense of illumination, although it is unbalanced too much in favor of the past. Still, Stegner does a good job of tying them together so as to give the novel closure, something which many contemporary writers are too craven to do.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2013

    A magnificent book! A FIVE STAR rating

    I feel so inadequate to critique anything written by Wallace Stegner. It is my opinion that his literary skills are unequaled amoung American writers, and should be required reading at least at the college level, if not by late high school scholars. Without revealing any of the final details of his story, Stegner forwarns, only through his writing style, of a tragedy surely to be revealed before the story ends. The reader sensing this, wants to reach out to each character who will be affected to forwarn them of impending danger. A rescue could only be obtained through the author. A magnifient read. As soon as I finished reading this book I immediately began to read it again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Masterwork?

    Stegner pens a masterwork of fiction, an epic story that earned him a Pulitzer. The writing and storytelling are superb.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    boring book

    It is one of the most boring book I have ever read - very hard to get into.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 5, 2009

    Captivating Reading

    Through book club & personal choices, I read alot and have not been captivated by a book in a while. This maybe starts slower but picks up & keeps getting stronger until the end of the story. I turned down many pages (didn't have a highlighter) and read aloud several sentences/paragraphs to a friend I was traveling with. Many statements are extremely thought provoking. Don't know why I hadn't heard about this book until recently. I'm recommending to my book club and will offer to lead discussion!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2006

    Amazing

    This is a remarkable piece of art. I started it on a friend's request and had trouble getting into it. After pushing through the first 80 pages I was hooked. All throughout the novel I marveled at the brilliant writer Stegner is. He captures his characters so completely and paints the early west in such vibrant colors the book jumps to life. What's more is the way he wraps you in, I ached, groaned, and felt joyus for each character in turn. The message, the 'angle of repose', rings all too clear. A fabulous read, I'd recommend it to any mature reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2004

    Magnificent

    One of the best books I've read in a very long time, harking back to a pre-minimalist style, with rich prose, strongly developed characters, and a most compelling story. Some of the writing is so clear and true that you really do feel it in your bones. Much better than his also- good but somewhat self-indulgent 'Crossing to Safety,' whose characters were not nearly as sympathetic or well- developed, and whose story faded in the second half of the book. Read them both, but 'Angle of Repose' is the superior achievement of this wonderful writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    The Best Fiction I've ever read

    Wallace Stegner's ability to graphically describe both settings within this book brings each character to life. The reader, male or female, is completely drawn into the story. I didn't want this one to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2013

    Beautifully written and gripping too.

    The book is fascinating because it covers an important period in US history and one that few of us know much about. Stegner does this through sensitively drawn characters and fantastic descriptions of the West before there were settlers there. He employs a novel structure in building his novel...he creates an author who is looking at the scenes through his grandmother's letters and brings her story to life. We read it in our book club and it led to a very lively discussion of the characters, their motives, their flaws and their strengths.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2001

    The Disharmony of Three Worlds

    The three worlds are: The world of cultivated, eastern literati in the late Nineteenth Century; the recklessly exploitive and graphically scenic world of the West in that same period; and the the shallow, unstable society of California in the 60's of the Twentieth Century. The wife, Susan, belongs to the first world but marries into the second; her husband Oliver is at home though hardly successful in the second; and the wheel-chair-bound, self-loathing narrator finds himself unhappily overwhelmed by the third. All these worlds whirl together in an almost unprecedent turbulence as the novel draws to its disturbing (but perhaps hopeful) closure. I at least found myself thoroughly in the grip of it. Stegner, by the way, carefully explains and uses several times the physical principal of 'angle of repose' as a metaphor for the relation his characters, as well as of the 'Doppler Effect.'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2001

    One of the best

    Put simply, this was one of the best books I have ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)