Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
(Contemporary American Fiction)

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Synopsis

Stegner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of personal, historical, and geographic discovery
 
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.
 
"Cause for celebration . . . A superb novel with an amplitude of scale and richness of detail altogether uncommon in contemporary fiction." —The Atlantic Monthly

"Brilliant . . . Two stories, past and present, merge to produce what important fiction must: a sense of the enchantment of life." —Los Angeles Times
 
This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Jackson J. Benson.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
 

About Wallace Stegner

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In 1972, Stegner won a Pulitzer Prize for Angle of Repose (1971), a novel about a wheelchair-bound man's re-creation of his New England grandmother's experience in a late nineteenth-century frontier town. As a result, Stegner is undergoing something of a revival. His work enjoys a new appreciation for its traditional narrative forms, its use of rich detail, and the unpretentious way it treats general social and psychological issues. For readers tired or confused by postmodernist fiction, Stegner offers relief. Stegner may also be the beneficiary of a quickening of interest in the latest literary westward expansion that includes such diverse writers as Jane Smiley and Larry McMurtry. Stegner's novels and stories are profoundly influenced by the American West where he grew up, and he wants to construct the history of a place where people went, often trying to escape the past. Moving between Eastern "cultivation" and Western "nature," Stegner's novels trace various stages in the Westward movement of the American experience. Against this broad cultural landscape, showing the modern betrayal of the past, Stegner details individual human behavior through a range of fully conceived and finely drawn characters. He is a master at tracing the changes over time in marriages and friendships, as well as at depicting the poignant tensions between a mind that remains strong in a body that is succumbing to illness.
 
Published January 1, 1971 by Heinemann. 576 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Angle of Repose

Kirkus Reviews

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A late autumn retrospective, accomplished with a long lens, in which Lyman Ward, retired, ill and wheelchair-bound, attempts to affirm the continuity of the past and the "Doppler effect" of time by reconstructing his grandparents' lives.

Oct 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Angle of Repose (Contemporary...

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Feb 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Angle of Repose (Contemporary...

Publishers Weekly

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This long, thoughtful novel about a retired historian who researches and writes about his pioneer grandparents garnered Stegner a Pulitzer Prize.

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