Angle of Repose
I nearly included this in the Summer Reading Guide but decided maybe not too many of you would be interested in a 672 page book published in 1971. But this book is pretty incredible in structure. A sweeping novel, a commentary on marriage–why it works, why it fails. It’s a Pulitzer winner, but its dream sequence ending feels like a copout.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1971, Angle of Repose has also been selected by the editorial board of the Modern Library as one of the hundred best novels of the 20th century.
Wallace Stegner’s uniquely American classic centers on Lyman Ward, a noted historian who relates a fictionalized biography of his pioneer grandparents at a time when he has become estranged from his own family. Through a combination of research, memory, and exaggeration, Ward voices ideas concerning the relationship between history and the present, art and life, parents and children, and husbands and wives. Like other great quests in literature, Lyman Ward’s investigation leads him deep into the dark shadows of his own life. The result is a deeply moving novel that, through the prism of one family, illuminates the American present against the fascinating background of its past.
Set in many parts of the West, Angle of Repose is a story of discovery – personal, historical, and geographical – that endures as Wallace Stegner’s masterwork: an illumination of yesterday’s reality that speaks to today’s.