Angle of Repose Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose

    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings
    • $9.99
    • $9.99

Publisher Description

An American masterpiece and iconic novel of the West by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner—a deeply moving narrative of one family and the traditions of our national past.

Lyman Ward is a retired professor of history, recently confined to a wheelchair by a crippling bone disease and dependant on others for his every need. Amid the chaos of 1970s counterculture he retreats to his ancestral home of Grass Valley, California, to write the biography of his grandmother: an elegant and headstrong artist and pioneer who, together with her engineer husband, made her own journey through the hardscrabble West nearly a hundred years before. In discovering her story he excavates his own, probing the shadows of his experience and the America that has come of age around him.

Fiction & Literature
November 11
Armida Books Press
Deseret Book Company

Customer Reviews

piter_98 ,

One of the Best Novels Ever Written

Several years ago I set out to read the 100 best novels ever written. Using a series of lists available on the internet I have now woven my way through 102 great novels. The "Angle of Repose" was on most of these lists and in my opinion it should be on all of them. Before I begin my review, let me state my bias. There is a huge difference between a book and a novel. A book is (generally) a fast paced and entertaining story. It may deal with geopolitics, romance, horror, murder, or any other topic you can think of. It's primary purpose, though, is to entertain. A novel on the other hand is written with a purpose beyond story telling. It exists to reveal something about the world, the heart, or the human condition. A truly great novel takes this a step further and allows the reader's heart to experience vicariously the heart condition or lesson it is written to convey. In short, it opens the window on the human soul and allows the reader to see in.

In this sense, "Angle of Repose" is truly a great novel. It is not a great book in the sense that the reader will rapidly turn the page to find out what happens next. It is not intended to dazzle the reader and carry them rapidly from one entertaining experience to the next. Instead, it seeks to immerse the reader in small slices of the characters routine existence until the reader fully grasps the nature of the characters and the challenges they face. Using a style that is unique the author poses as an author reconstructing his grandmother's life from her collected letters and articles. Thus, both the author and the reader know that her fate is already set even though as the protagonist, she does not know it. This gives the entire book a kind of sad and nostalgic feel as she lives out a predetermined existence that she is not privy to. It is like someone reflecting back over their life even before they have lived it. It is a very powerful literary effect. I often found myself wanting to cry as I turned the pages because I could see where things were heading even when the characters could not. I wanted things to be different than they were, but knew they would not, could not be.

This is not only one of the finest historical novels ever written concerning real life in the old west, it is also one of the most soul stirring books I have ever picked up. It deals with some of the deepest issues faced by frail humanity including hardship, failure, unforgiveness, and the fragile nature of the human soul. If you want an entertaining page turning story, this is probably not the book for you. If you want a glimpse into the human soul, this is it. One of the finest novels I have read, and I've read some good ones.

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The Big Rock Candy Mountain The Big Rock Candy Mountain

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