By Wallace Stegner
Wallace Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a narrative of discovery--personal, ancient, and geographical. restrained to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward units out to jot down his grandparents' extraordinary tale, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the skin of America's western frontier. yet his examine unearths much more approximately his personal lifestyles than he's prepared to confess. What emerges is a charming portrait of 4 generations within the lifetime of an American family.
Like different nice quests in literature, Lyman Ward's research leads him deep into the darkish shadows of his personal lifestyles. the result's a deeply relocating novel that, in the course of the prism of 1 kin, illuminates the yankee current opposed to the attention-grabbing historical past of its previous.
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The piny-winy smell was narcotic, and so was the sun streaming in, strong and unfettered because there were no curtains or shades at the windows that were all around the room, two in each of three walls, one on each side of the door, one on either side of the sink and the stove, and two on the farther wall. The fourth wall must back on the bedrooms, Milkman thought. The pebbly voice, the sun, and the narcotic wine smell weakened both the boys, and they sat in a pleasant semi-stupor, listening to her go on and on .
Only after the eggs were split open, revealing moist reddish-yellow centers, did she return to her story. “One morning we woke up when the sun was nearly a quarter way cross the sky. Bright as anything. And blue. Blue like the ribbons on my mother’s bonnet. ” She pointed out the window. “Right behind them hickories. See? ” They looked and saw the sky stretching back behind the houses and the trees. “That’s the same color,” she said, as if she 43 had discovered something important. “Same color as my mama’s ribbons.
Surprise, it looked like, and eagerness. But so intense it made him uneasy. Or perhaps it was more than that. Perhaps it was seeing her all those years after they had Song of Solomon separated outside that cave, and remembering his anger and her betrayal. How far down she had slid since then. She had cut the last thread of propriety. At one time she had been the dearest thing in the world to him. Now she was odd, murky, and worst of all, unkempt. A regular source of embarrassment, if he would allow it.
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner