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ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner


by Wallace Stegner

Pub Date: March 19th, 1971
ISBN: 0141185473
Publisher: Doubleday

A late autumn retrospective, accomplished with a long lens, in which Lyman Ward, retired, ill and wheelchair-bound, attempts to affirm the continuity of the past and the "Doppler effect" of time by reconstructing his grandparents' lives. This in partial contrast to and rebuttal of his son at Berkeley "interested in change but only as a process. . . in values, but only as data" (the schism of his last book, All the Little Live Things). Much as one respects the amplitude of this novel and its sincerity, it all goes on and on (except for occasional present day interruptions) and one is never really very interested in Susan Burling Ward and her deracination from the cultured East to the uncivilized West in the 1870's by her husband, an engineer. It was always for her an "exile" and except for the terminal incidents ( a muted love affair which resulted in the accidental death of a child, her lover's suicide and permanent separation from her husband) there is almost no narrative incentive. The repose, however pleasant, becomes a kind of narcosis.