Angle of Repose may be the best book I have ever read. Wallace Stegner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel traces the fortunes of four generations of one family as they attempt to build a life for themselves in the American West. Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents’ remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America’s western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he’s willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family.
Stegner’s novel is stylistically complex and simply outstanding. I savored every sentence of his smart, flowing, eloquent prose, rereading his gorgeous sentences repeatedly to soak them in. His use of metaphor was brilliant, and the characters were richly drawn, particularly the grandmother, a strong, heroic woman who is unkind and spiteful with a “cumulative grudge.”
I can’t say enough good things about this dazzling novel. Wow.
Genres: Family saga, literary fiction, modern classic
Read-alikes: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, The Only Story by Julian Barnes, Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen