The Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
The awesome used bookstore near my apartment is deep on California-centric fiction. And so I’ve been jamming on Wallace Stegner.
There is a small, lingering controversy about this book, about whether it was a fair use of a family’s history (and in my reading of it, Stegner did everything above board), but don’t let that distract you from the glorious, glorious prose.
Her heart was thudding from the momentary alarm of the snagging skip; she quivered from the unexpectedness of that encounter. It was as if a shutter had opened and a wild face looked in for an awful moment and then been shut back into its blackness. It terrified her to think that the whole riddled mountain crawled with men like that one. Under her feet as she walked in sunshine, under her stool and umbrella as she sat sketching, under the piazza as she rocked the baby in his cradle, creatures like that one were swinging picks, drilling holes, pushing ore carts, sinking in cages to ever deeper levels, groping along black tunnels with the energy of ants. It raised the gooseflesh on her arms; it was as if she had suddenly discovered that the conduits of her blood teemed with tiny, busy, visible vermin.