Collected Stories of Wallace Stegner

Wallace Earle Stegner, Author
Wallace Earle Stegner, Author Random House (NY) $21.95 (525p) ISBN 978-0-394-58409-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
These 31 classic stories record much of the cultural climate of 20th-century America, its West in particular, constituting, as the NBA and Pulitzer Prize-winning author affectionately notes, not an autobiography, but ``a sort of personal record.'' As combined here, the tales are a window onto a vivid American past that is as focused as a Norman Rockwell painting, although far more astringent and hardly as wholesome. Settings range from Stegner's native Canada to Utah, California and Vermont--all memorable places in the author's life. The stories are not arranged chronologically: Stegner's dark, voyeuristic peek into the lives of women awaiting letters from men serving in WW II gives way to an account of a bloodthirsty boyhood on the hot, flat frontier of a Saskatchewan farm. Best of all is the slicing wit of ``Field Guide to the Western Birds,'' in which a curmudgeon acidly comments on the petulant antics of a would-be virtuoso. Several of the stories have been reshaped and interpolated into such novels as Wolf Willow and The Big Rock Candy Mountain. (Mar.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!