Meg's Reviews > Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
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's review
Jun 08, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: via-audible, how-the-west-was-won
Read from September 01 to 21, 2011

I really waffled about whether or not I liked this book, or whether it drove me crazy.

On one hand, the prose is impeccable. Tasty. Delicious. Crisp, and smooth, and elegant (like a cameo) all at the same time. It was certainly easy to picture each setting (even the one near me, Leadville!) with fresh eyes, seeing the country in un-developed splendor. It's the kind of writing that until you read it, you don't realize how much contemporary fiction is missing. The story is unique -- not your typical prarie romance

On another hand, I found the narrator to be (at some moments) rather annoying. He talked about 'feminine fingers' messing in his 'guts', and gave no legitimacy to women's feelings, really. He had given a 'good life' (no matter that he had been silent, distracted, and unemotional in his marriage) to his first wife, and couldn't understand why she'd left. He completely dismissed a twenty-year old girl's thoughts with no more than a pat on the head, because she was a girl, and because no one 'now a days' could have any idea worth discussing. I think he was a marvelous character in general, but he rankled me with his narrowmindedness. He also charmed me with his love of the past, and his love of social morees, social propriety, and gentlemanliness. So there you have it.

SBW, the main character in this book was by turns charming, snobbish, unhappy, and boring. The book chugged along with disappointment after disappointment, but I suppose that's an accurate picture of life back then for some. I kept waiting for them to 'catch a break'. The ending was marvelously revealed... it was a book where I couldn't 100% exactly tell what was goign to happen until the very end. And annoying that every man she came across was madly in love with her, but whatever.

I loved side characters in this book almost more than the main characters (which was more like watching a train wreck anyhow).

All in all, I'm glad I read it. It was a test in patience, but I think the pay offs were worth the journey.
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Reading Progress

15.0% "I wasn't sure what to think for a bit, but now that we're getting into the actual story, I'm rather enjoying this. Lovely description, a mastery of writing that is sorely lacking in a lot of mainstream fiction ... something you don't notice you're hungry for until it's put before you on such a nice 'plate' =)"
09/16/2011 page 345
60.0% "Still muddling through... Why are the books I pick so long?!"
90.0% "pushing towards the finish line. Still beautiful prose, and wobbling about whether or not the narrator drives me crazy, or makes me nostalgic and wistful. This is a LONG listen. Definitely could have moved along a little more."
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message 1: by Wendy Darling (new)

Wendy Darling ...the prose is impeccable. Tasty. Delicious. Crisp, and smooth, and elegant (like a cameo) all at the same time.

Wow. Great review, Meg!

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