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Angle of Repose

Author : Wallace Stegner

Genre : Historical Fiction

Some time ago, I read most of Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner’s books. Angle of Repose is by far my favorite. I so enjoy when the title is carried into the story and has meaning in the story. The angle of repose is an engineering term which means the angle at which dirt and pebbles stop rolling.

The story begins with Lyman Ward, a retired professor of history, who is recently confined to a wheelchair by a crippling bone disease. Amid the chaos of 1970s counterculture he retreats to his ancestral home of Grass Valley, California, to write the biography of his grandmother: an elegant and headstrong artist and pioneer who, together with her engineer husband, made her own journey through the hardscrabble West nearly a hundred years before. In discovering her story he excavates his own, probing the shadows of his experience.

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