The novel tells the story of Lyman Ward, a retired professor of history and author of books about the Western frontier, who returns to his ancestral ...Show synopsisThe novel tells the story of Lyman Ward, a retired professor of history and author of books about the Western frontier, who returns to his ancestral home in the Sierra Nevada. Wheelchair-bound with a crippling bone disease, Ward embarks nonetheless on a search to rediscover his grandmother, no long dead, who made her own journey to Grass Valley nearly a hundred years earlier.Hide synopsis
Description:NEW in None as Issued jacket. NEW COPY. 1972 Pultizer Prize...NEW in None as Issued jacket. NEW COPY. 1972 Pultizer Prize winning novel of Iowa-born writer, novelist and teacher Wallace Stegner (1909-1993). Lengthy, introspective novel of a retired, wheelchair bound, historian who, having lost contact with his immediate family, withdraws to his grandparents' home in Grass Valley, California to research the lives of his pioneer forebearers. The novel spans four generations covering the years 1860-1970, and inspired by, and draws upon, the letters of Mary Hallock Foote. An engrossing novel.
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Description:New. Now I believe they will leave me alone. Increasingly...New. Now I believe they will leave me alone. Increasingly isolated from his son and estranged from his wife, retired historian Lyman Ward-wheelchair-bound and suffering from a debilitating bone disease-retreats to his grandparent's home to write the biography of his grandmother, Susan Burling Ward. A Victorian-era artist, Susan charmed New York's elite, especially the highborn Augusta Drake Hudson, with whom she maintains correspondence throughout her life. When Susan accepts an offer of marriage from the bright and capable (though not-nearly-so-refined) Oliver Ward, they embark for California's frontier where Oliver is an engineer for the New Almaden mine. The biography may be Susan's, but this is a story of a marriage-of opposites making a life together, of a lady determined to carve out a civilized life for herself and her children, of a mechanically brilliant and inherently trusting man who can't catch a break as they move from Leadville to Mexico to Boise. The thread of their story is told alternately by Susan's letters (directly based on the letters of Mary Hallock Foote, a well-known illustrator) and the history her grandson reads between the lines of those letters. Likening the trajectory of his grandparent's life to the angle of repose-the angle at which soil finally settles after being dumped from a mine as tailings-Lyman inevitably must face (or ignore) the similarity of their story to his own as he struggles with his failings and the failings of those he loves.
Description:New. New trade edition from the shelves of Nantucket Bookworks...New. New trade edition from the shelves of Nantucket Bookworks or Mitchell's Book Corner, the island's cozy independent bookshops.
This love story beautifully captures the tension between the sophisticated East and the bumptious ever optimistic West during the second half of the nineteenth century. If you want to learn how the western pioneers and opportunists really lived and thought while following the not so easy marriage of the fully fleshed out protaganists of the story then you will enjoy and appreciate this classic novel.
Although this is fiction, I learned more about 19th century America, especially the west, than I ever did from history books. It is really two stories in one: The narrator tells us about his life as a middle-aged man in a wheelchair, living alone, fighting to maintain his independence., while at the same time he is telling us about a book he is writing about his grandparents, who were among those involved with the earliest mining camps in America. It is the act of writing this book that keeps him sane.
The characterizations of his grandparents and their children are fascinating, as they move from mining camp to mining camp, living under wild and primitive conditions, building America.
I have bad news for aspiring writers...the great American novel has already been written. Wallace Stegner is perennially under rated, but no one should miss this sweeping story of a modern man and his ancestors who helped settle the West. It's simply brilliant - each page has language that is stunning in its simple elegance and the story is truly amazing. I can't recommend this book enough.
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