Sunday, August 3, 2008
Modern Library's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century Quest: #82
Title: Angle of Repose
Author: Wallace Stegner
Judgin' the Book By Its Cover: This cover doesn't do much justice to the story-- does it make you want to read the book?
Thoughts: Angle of Repose tells the story of Lyman Ward, an aging historian, crippled physically by disease and emotionally by his wife's betrayal, living in California in the early '70's. To stave off loneliness and to retain what he can of his independence, he embarks on a new project and begins digging into the letters, articles, and drawings left behind by his grandmother, an accomplished artist from New England who left a life of sophistication and culture to move to the Western frontier and marry a mining engineer. As Ward contemplates his life and his grandmother's, he draws startling conclusions about the nature of marriage and what holds relationships together.
The book was very absorbing, and really examined the lives and relationships of the characters. I found it challenging and difficult to read at times, especially as I watched marriages disintegrate and characters inflict wounds on each other that would never heal. It really made me think about my own relationship and the choices that you have to make to keep your life intersecting with the lives of others.