Angle of Repose
- Author: W. Stegner
- Title: Angle of Repose
- Published: 1971
- Trivia: Pulitzer Prize 1972
- Trivia: Nr 82 on Modern Library’s top 100 novels 20th C
- Trivia: 16 weeks to read 20 major classics….starting
- …a few days early (29 May).
- I need all the reading time I can get!
Sense of Place:
- New York, Mexico, Idaho, Colorado, California
- Stegner emphasizes the difference between East and West coast.
- East: Susan – tradition; snobbish and self-centered wife;
- misses her community of close friends (Augusta, Thomas);
- Susan retreats into her own world (drawings, letters) while living in the west.
- West: Oliver – driven and dedicated husband;
- has his own qualities that Susan sometimes overlooks;
- differences between husband and wife drive them apart.
- Lyman (narrator) searches in the past to discover
- …why his grandparent’s (Susan and Oliver) marriage
- …survived while his collapsed.
- Susan and Oliver fight hardships on the frontier,
- …perservere through great sorrow and still find strengths
- …in each other that emulate the ‘western spirit.’
- Lyman needs this ‘western’ courage to face his failed marriage and
- …his dependency on others (health issues).
- Angle of Repose is a novel within a novel.
- — inner novel is Lyman’s story of Susan
- — the outer one is the story of Lyman himself.
- This simultaneous telling of two stories is a clever device.
- I feel Stegner ‘created this book to impress’.
- Everything is ‘stream-lined’ narratives that weave seamlessly together,
- woman’s worlds past and present and grumpy retired professor.
- I’m not impressed unfortunately.
- Stegner does succeed in writing realism (descriptions)
- …of the West without falling
- into ‘frontier potboiler’ romanticism of the setting and the people…
- heroes vs villains.
- Angle of Repose is a geological term.
- It is the slope at which rocks cease to roll.
- This was the BEST part of the book.
- It is a clever metaphor for the relationship Susan – Oliver.
- Husband and wife exist in an unhappy state of being.
- They accommodate, they adjust to meet a need to live together.
- Lyman is trying to reach this
- …point of reconciliation …with ex-wife and himself.
- I did my best to review a book that I did not enjoy.
- There was a lack of depth and in this never-ending book…
- …I found the narratives too obvious and transparent.
- I expected more from a Pulitzer Prize winning book.
- But remember W. Stegner’s book is also considered a ‘classic’.
- You should read it and decide if it is worth finishing.
- I had my doubts….but must #NeverGiveUp.
- I am including Brona’s Books the review Angle of Repose.
- She is saving this book for a ‘re-read’.
- I am not.
- Do yourself a favor and leave this ‘long-winded’ book on the shelf.
- Stegner was creative writing professor at Stamford University.
- He was well versed in narrative theory.
- What does a (usually female) reader always fall for?
- Infidelity, forgiveness and the realization that
- …the choice of a marriage partner rules a woman’s life!
- Many readers love this book and I keep asking myself why?
- I too was drawn into the book in the first pages…but soon lost interest.
- The writing was not ‘powerful’….it was seductive.
- Stegener uses pathos that appeals to emotion to ‘bamboozle’ me.
- I had the feeling Stegner was determined to make his book a best-seller
- ….by effectively targeting certain type of audience.
- The quirky retired teacher with marriage/personal issues
- …that he wants to solve….
- …with the help of a pioneer grandmother’s
- …letters grabs the reader’s attention.
- It just did not grab my attention
W. Stegner (1909-1993)