Angle of Repose Author:Wallace Stegner In the unfolding drama of the story of America, there are a few literary milestones which point the way toward the present, and it is in such company that Wallace Stegner's masterwork, Angle of Repose, must take its place. Mr. Stegner has written a novel, but the story he tells transcends fiction. It is an investigation, an illumination of y... more »esterday's reality that speaks to today's.
Angle of Repose is, in the author's words, "a novel about Time, as much as anything -- about people who live through time, who believe in both a past and a future". Angle of Repose, a geological term for the slope at which rocks roll, is set in many parts of the West -- California, the Dakotas, Colorado, Idaho, Mexico -- but it is in no sense a regional novel. It is neither an "historical" nor a "pioneer" novel although it covers four generations in the life of an American family (1860-1970) and deals with people who had a hand in shaping whole areas of western life. "It has," to quote Mr Stegner again, "something to say about the relations of a man with his ancestors and his descendants. It is also a novel about cultural transplantation. It sets one man's impulse to build and create in the West against his cultivated wife's yearning for the cultural opportunities she left in the East. Through the eyes of their grandson (a man living today), it appraises the conflict of openness and change with the Victorian pattern of ingrained responsibilities and reticences; and in the entangled emotional life of the narrator it finds a parallel for the emotional lesions in the lives of the grandparents. It finds, that is, the present in the past and the past in the present; and in the activities of a very young (and very modern) secretary-assistant, it reveals how even the most rebellious crusades of our time follow paths that our great-grandfathers' feet beat dusty." « less