by Wallace Stegner


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Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City not for his aunt's funeral, but to encounter the place he fled in bitterness forty-five years ago. A successful statesman and diplomat, Mason had buried his awkward childhood and sealed himself off from the thrills and torments of adolesence to become a figure who commanded international respect.

But the realities of the present recede in the face of ghosts of his past. As he makes the perfunctory arrangements for the funeral, we enter with him on an intensely personal and painful inner pilgrimage: we meet the father who darkened his childhood, the mother whose support was both redeeming and embarassing, the friend who drew him into the respectable world of which he so craved to be a part, and the woman he nearly married. In this profoundly moving book, Stegner has drawn an intimate portrait of a man undestanding how his life has been shaped by experiences seemingly remote and inconsequential.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525435426
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/16/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 507,569
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Wallace Stegner (1909–1993) was the author of, among other novels, All the Little Live Things (winner of a Commonwealth Club Gold Medal), Angle of Repose (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and The Spectator Bird (winner of the National Book Award). His nonfiction includes The Sound of Mountain Water, The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard DeVoto, and Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West. Three of his short stories won O. Henry Prizes, and in 1980 he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for his lifetime literary achievements.

Date of Birth:

February 18, 1909

Date of Death:

April 13, 1993

Place of Birth:

Lake Mills, Iowa

Place of Death:

Santa Fe, New Mexico


B.A., University of Utah, 1930; attended University of California, 1932-33; Ph. D., State University of Iowa, 1935

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Recapitulation 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nostalgia is a longing for once familiar circumstances or surroundings that are now remote or irrecoverable. It is this nostalgia that is the hallmark of Recapitulation, a novel by Wallace Stegner, that surrounds you while depicting events and details unfamiliar and raises the feeling of nostalgia for those once familiar circumstances of your own that are as remote as that small town in which you were raised and that you left long ago seldom to return. It is the return of Bruce Mason to his home town of Salt Lake City and the memories that the visit triggers that inhabit the pages of Stegner's fine novel with an aura of nostalgia that makes the reader feel that he is part of Mason's life as he grows and learns and experiences some of the common rites of every young man's journey through life. Except he is no longer a young man and his view is from a distant adulthood that gives the memories a melancholic tinge and, perhaps, a certain emphasis that shades the memories with the patina of time. Stegner creates real believable characters in Mason's family, among which include a distant and imperious father and loving mother who is nearer in spirit to her studious son. Bruce is able to escape a life that is supported by a father whose profession is selling contraband (during prohibition) through hard work both in several jobs that provide financial independence and his studies that emancipate his mind. His trip to Salt Lake City, seemingly to perform the necessary rites surrounding his Aunt's funeral, becomes a traversal of a previous life. One filled with ghosts and none closer to his adult self, yet further in a sense, than himself as he ponders near the end of the book:"He felt like the last remaining spectator at the last act of a play he had not understood." (p 274) Through his beautiful prose and his ability to capture the essence of nostalgia and the characters that inhabited the play that was the life of Bruce Mason, Wallace Stegner creates a wonderful story and a great book.
nemoman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Big Rock Candy Mountain Part II. In this autobiographical novel, Stegner continues the story of Bruce Mason from Big Rock Candy Mountain. He reflects on his life growing up in Salt Lake City and the start of his literary carreer.