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Angle of Repose
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Archive: Other Books > Angle of Repose/Stegner - 4 stars

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Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments Make no mistake, the actually writing in this book is five stars all the way. It's as though each sentence was crafted with more love than the next. I could absolutely re-read this and never tire of it in the same way you can look at the Mona Lisa and never tire of it.

However, it is slow moving, and I had to deduct a star for that. I think plenty of people would find it hard to finish. But if you love literary fiction, then YES, this one should be on your list.

The story is about a wheelchair bound writer who is researching and relating the story of his grandparents' relationship. His grandmother was a well bred northeasterner, a person steeped in arts and culture. His grandfather was an engineer trying to make his way in the West. The relationship is fraught with both deep, deep love and tension, and the slow build of the book works in favor of the reader's ultimate understanding of how one decision can pivot a life.

Just a forewarning, the book is not totally satisfying in the sense that Stegner never spoon feeds the reader. So, in the end, I felt the reader was left to draw some of their own conclusions . . .which some readers may enjoy (I did), but some may not. I think it would have been great to read this book with others for that reason.

If you write, or just appreciate an author who can use words to paint a picture while having you hang on each one . . .Stegner is a must. A book to be savored.


Elizabeth (Alaska) One of my top ten all time favorites! Apparently Mary Hallock Foote was a famous illustrator of the time and Stegner chose her story for this. I know nothing about Foote's life, so don't know which parts might be fact and which fiction.


message 3: by Sara (last edited Mar 04, 2016 12:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "One of my top ten all time favorites! Apparently Mary Hallock Foote was a famous illustrator of the time and Stegner chose her story for this. I know nothing about Foote's life, so don't know which..."

I read that he actually used direct transcriptions of her letters and other writings in some places. He was careful to attribute them though, otherwise I would be forced to put this down

Anita, I am feeling much the same as you. Unfortunately, my library audio copy had a hold on it so I just lost it. Thankfully a nearby library has it in hardback so I will pick it up today to finish it.


Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments So interesting that the book was based on a real woman! I had no idea.

Sara, I'm so sorry about the library audio. UGH. Glad you have a plan B.


message 5: by Karin (last edited Mar 04, 2016 11:48AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Karin | 6924 comments His writing is OUTSTANDING. He was highly recommended to me by a good IRL friend of mine, and I read this entire novel in between having my first two children. But I didn't like it. But then, I didn't stop just to admire his prose the way she did. So I tried a second one of his, also beautifully written, and didn't like it. After that, this friend of mine stopped recommending fiction to me.

But I had liked some of her suggestions.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5639 comments I really liked this ... read it twice, and recommended it to my F2F book club. Stegner's writing is wonderful!


message 7: by Margaret (new)

Margaret (margarette) | 292 comments I like Stegner and thought I had read this title, but it's not familiar to me and looks pretty memorable. I love that it's based on truth. Thanks for that info, Sara. I just added it to my Kindle list for the library


message 8: by Anita (last edited Mar 04, 2016 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments Book Concierge wrote: "I really liked this ... read it twice, and recommended it to my F2F book club. Stegner's writing is wonderful!"

I can totally see re-reading this one. The story didn't totally grab me, but the writing is just so amazing. I love writers who can do things with words in a way that is both beautiful and original.


message 9: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8124 comments My uncle is a big fan of Stegner and has recommended this to me. But then, my uncle seems to enjoy "literary" stuff a lot more than I do! I have read two or three others by Stegner and they are ok.


message 10: by Jennifer P. (new) - added it

Jennifer P. Pope (jenjunum) | 902 comments Adding this to my list. This is exactly how I felt about Goldfinch (a more recent Pulitzer winner). The writing so great but the story a little slow. If not for the beautiful language I would have quit that one too.


message 11: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Mar 04, 2016 06:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth (Alaska) Not every book should be read for plot. This was definitely more character-driven.


message 12: by Anita (last edited Mar 04, 2016 07:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments Jennifer wrote: "Adding this to my list. This is exactly how I felt about Goldfinch (a more recent Pulitzer winner). The writing so great but the story a little slow. If not for the beautiful language I would have ..."

So funny you said that because I almost said the exact same thing in the body of my review! I was not a fan of the plotting in The Goldfinch, but swooned over the writing.


Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Not every book should be read for plot. This was definitely more character-driven."

Agree!!!


message 14: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments I need to explore this one I think.


message 15: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Not every book should be read for plot. This was definitely more character-driven."

A girl after my own heart. There are so many books I love solely for characterization or prose, that may be considered plotless. I know that doesn't work for everyone though so I am always thrilled when someone else gets it.


Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments Great review! I'm going to add it to my TBR. I don't know that I love literary fiction (never really thought about it) but I do appreciate a writer that can paint a picture through words.


message 17: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8285 comments My book also enjoyed Orphan Train. I loved it. But I read the Chaperone around the same time, like just a few books before, and that was also about looking into the past and centered on the Orphan trains. Reading the two together really rounded the experience and moved me.


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