Elizabeth (Alaska)'s Reviews > Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
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's review
Jan 09, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star-reads, awards-pulitzer, author-stegner-wallace
Read in January, 2010

As I read this, I thought, "this is about a 4 star read." So why did I give it 5 stars? It is such a beautiful book, that's why. There were many parts that didn't seem to move along, which is why I thought I would be stingy, but I'm so very glad the author took his time. And I felt myself talking to the characters, mostly Susan. "Don't be so removed from your life - how many do you get?" Could I be so involved with a story and not give it 5 stars?
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Reading Progress

02/16 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth Love your review...you've got me excited to read it!

message 2: by Shelley (new) - added it

Shelley Talking to the characters - this must be good!

Elizabeth (Alaska) So many passages I read over and over. It took me much longer to read than it should have.

message 4: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Nice review, Elizabeth. I enjoyed your little ponderings about stars, which has been a problem for me sometimes.

message 5: by Maria (new)

Maria Cool review! Wallace must be a beautiful writer!

Rose Pushing it up the list to be read! Love your review!

message 7: by Bobbi (last edited Jan 17, 2010 12:15PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bobbi Susan, in Angle of Repose, was based on the letters of Mary Hallock Foote, probably the best illustrator of the 19th century. She is a fascinating person, to say the least. There is a biography of her by Darius Miller. She also wrote numerous novels, many of which can be bought online. Angle of Repose is one of my all time favorite books.

message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Thank you, Elizabeth and Southerngoddess! Lovely review and interesting commentary. It has been so good belonging to GR!!

Rose Thanks, Elizabeth.
I just finished it and wow, I loved it!
It dawned on me that she Mary Hallock Foote, on which the character Susan was based, had illustrated The Scarlet Letter. Hmm? Interesting don't you think?

Elizabeth (Alaska) I knew this was based on a real person, but until Bobbi posted above, I didn't know who she was. We try so hard to be the person we think we ought to be.

Bobbi I think Wallace Stegner is one of the most under appreciated writer of the last century. His prose is exquisite, not to mention his good stories. Until Angle of Repose came out, people thought of settling the West in terms of cowboys and Indians. There was very little written about women who really had trying times. That's one of the reasons this book is so important. There have been numerous books written by and about Mary Hallock Foote. She wrote many fiction books in addition to her prolific illustrations which appeared in many of the best magazines, periodicals and books. You can find some of her illustrations on eBay if you want one. People have the old periodicals and tear out the pages and sell them, which I hate, but nonetheless it is one way to have one. I hope people will become more interested in reading about her. I've become such an admirer since reading Angle of Repose. I hope you'll check into her background for yourselves. Fascinating. And I agree with Elisabeth that Angle of Repose deserves five stars.

Bobbi Oh, one more thing (now that you've got me started). Even though Mary Foote did not enjoy Boise all that much, the city now claims her as one of their most famous citizens. You can go to this web site http://farrit.lili.org/node/95 which takes you to a Boise historical site, describing a lot more about her. Somewhere on that site is a newsletter about her that has her illustrations of the house they lived in down by the river, the one they build closer to Boise and other scenes you'll recognize from the book.

message 13: by Rose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rose Thanks Bobbi. That is really interesting!

message 14: by Dana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dana I loved this book--had to order my own copy to mark passages and pages in! (Twas a library book) Elizabeth, your comments were spot on! The characters were intriguing and the pages kept turning, despite some slower pages.

I so hoped to learn who Susan was based on--thanks for that, commenters!

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