Angle of Repose (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) by Wallace Stegner

By Wallace Stegner

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One wound that has surely grown and festered over the years is his wife’s disappointment in his inability to achieve the material success that would have raised them socially. He can do his job well, but his sense of duty leads him to pass up opportunities in order to stay with his family, and he is too honest to compete in the helter-skelter western world of get-rich-quick exploitation. At heart, Lyman tells us, he was a builder, not a raider. This is a thoughtful book with a rich panoply of characters, both major and minor, and one that explores many themes, themes that bring the novel into the center of our culture.

D. in 1935 to his death in 1993, he published some fifty-eight short stories, a dozen novels, two histories, two biographies, a memoir-history, and five collections of essays. He was given numerous awards for his writings, including the Pulitzer Prize for Angle of Repose, the National Book Award for The Spectator Bird, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Los Angeles Times. From the early 1950s, he became as well known for his environmental activities and writings as for his fiction. However, it was the writing of novels that was closest to his heart, and it was as a novelist that he wanted to be remembered.

Foerster, unfortunately, had been struck by a disease that had paralyzed his legs. With some sorrow about what had happened to his old friend, Stegner nevertheless put himself into Foerster’s ptace—how would he, a largely immobile literary historian, view the world? ” Here was the tunnel vision that Stegner was looking for. Foerster did not provide a character—Stegner invented him, descended from Joe AUston—but a point of view, literally a position from which to view the world. In comparing Allston with Lyman Ward, Stegner notes that Allston and Ward are very different types.

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