Recapitulation

Overview

Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City not for his aunt's funeral, but to encounter the place he fled in bitterness forty-five years ago. A successful statesman and diplomat, Mason had buried his awkward childhood and sealed himself off from the thrills and torments of adolesence to become a figure who commanded international respect.

But the realities of the present recede in the face of ghosts of his past. As he makes the perfunctory arrangements for the funeral, we enter with ...

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Overview

Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City not for his aunt's funeral, but to encounter the place he fled in bitterness forty-five years ago. A successful statesman and diplomat, Mason had buried his awkward childhood and sealed himself off from the thrills and torments of adolesence to become a figure who commanded international respect.

But the realities of the present recede in the face of ghosts of his past. As he makes the perfunctory arrangements for the funeral, we enter with him on an intensely personal and painful inner pilgrimage: we meet the father who darkened his childhood, the mother whose support was both redeeming and embarassing, the friend who drew him into the respectable world of which he so craved to be a part, and the woman he nearly married. In this profoundly moving book, Stegner has drawn an intimate portrait of a man undestanding how his life has been shaped by experiences seemingly remote and inconsequential.

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Editorial Reviews

Christian Science Monitor
"In an age of explicit sex scenes and of male-female hates and struggles, it is wonderful to open this book. . . . Despite the flapper fashions and references to prohibition and old Fords, one comes out aware of universal, human feelings that have nothing to do with time—present, future, or past."—Christian Science Monitor
New York Times Book Review

"Recapitulation is rich in the grittier American truths. . . . It has a piece of our pathos at its core."—Benjamin DeMott, New York Times Book Review

— Benjamin DeMott

New York Times Book Review - Benjamin DeMott
"Recapitulation is rich in the grittier American truths. . . . It has a piece of our pathos at its core."—Benjamin DeMott, New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140266733
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 350,272
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Wallace Stegner
Taking the American frontier – both physical and psychological – as his subject, Wallace Stegner created a body of work that stretches from prizewinning novels and short stories to historical and political nonfiction. Taking both human experience and natural beauty as his muses, Stegner embodied what he called the “western character.”

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).

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    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

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