Matthew's Reviews > Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
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's review
Jul 12, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: literary

I do not know what to say about this book, except that it is probably the finest novel that I have read in a long time. The historian in me appreciates the fact that this is a story about "pioneers" in the West whose story is so antithetical to the silly mythologies. The Wards' West is full of frustration and failure, helplessness before nature, and surrender to the forces of eastern capital; it is also a multiethnic and contentiously classist frontier where technology and progress have unforeseen and unfortunate results. I noticed these things as I read, and tipped my hat to Stegner, but that's not why this novel is amazing. I don't think I can really explain why. It just possesses a beauty and power as magisterial as its subject matter: not only the vast mountains and canyons and deserts of the West, but the generations of men and women who went there, who tried to live and in the process tore each other apart, and always tried to find a way to forgive.

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Kate oh, boy. i can't wait to hear your thoughts on this.

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