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By Wallace Stegner

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Hall, 1982. Meine, Curt, ed. Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision: Essays on Literature, History, and Landscape. : Island Press, 1997. , ed. Wallace Stegner: Man and Writer. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. , and Margaret G. Robinson. Wallace Stegner. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977. I GRASS VALLEY 1 Now I believe they will leave me alone. Obviously Rodman came up hoping to find evidence of my incompetence—though how an incompetent could have got this place renovated, moved his library up, and got himself transported to it without arousing the suspicion of his watchful children, ought to be a hard one for Rodman to answer.

Although like her husband his mother never went beyond the eighth grade in school, she loved books and passed on a love of reading to her son. Together his parents would seem to have been the archetypal western couple. In later years, as a writer, Wallace saw them as representing the exploiter, on the one hand, and the civilizer on the other. Although they are quite different in character and background, we can see Oliver and Susan Ward in their roles in Angle of Repose as dim reflections of Stegner’s parents.

He made me nervous. I was afraid of doing something wrong and ending up at the bottom in a mess of twisted metal and broken bones. When I was locked in, I flipped the wall switch, and the lift’s queer, weightless motion took hold of me, moved me smoothly, tipped me with the inevitable solar plexus panic over the edge. I went down like a diver submerging, the floor flowed over my head. Without haste the downstairs wall toward which my rigid head was set unrolled from top to bottom, revealing midway the print of that Pre-Raphaelite seadog and his enchanted boy listeners—a picture my grandmother might have painted herself, it is so much in her key of aspiration arising out of homely realism.

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