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This is like a coda written forty years after the symphony If you haven t read The Big Rock Candy Mountain, I suggest you do so Then, while it is still fresh in your mind, read Recapitulation It fills in details left out of the first book and lets you get to know Brucie a lot better as he struggles through puberty and beyond in Salt Lake City If you ve grown attached to the Mason family through The Big Rock Candy Mountain, you ll find yourself wanting even , as I did Bruce Mason retur This is like a coda written forty years after the symphony If you haven t read The Big Rock Candy Mountain, I suggest you do so Then, while it is still fresh in your mind, read Recapitulation It fills in details left out of the first book and lets you get to know Brucie a lot better as he struggles through puberty and beyond in Salt Lake City If you ve grown attached to the Mason family through The Big Rock Candy Mountain, you ll find yourself wanting even , as I did Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City forty five years after fleeing in anger and pain As he passes by the old landmarks, the memories of his formative years begin to coil around him and eventually crowd his mind and haunt his dreams The novel is floaty and dreamy and sepia toned, taking Bruce back to events and feelings from the 1920s 30s in no particular order Stegner s approach is very true to the nature of memory and nostalgia, including the need to whitewash experiences or downplay our culpability for things that went sour I thought this was going to be the one Stegner novel I d get through without crying, but he got me on the next to last page I m not sorry about that I probably would have been disappointed if I d finished it dry eyed This is a good book, but not great like The Big Rock Candy Mountain It s only half the length, but felt twice as long I wasn t compelled to read on like I was with the earlier book I would definitely read Big Rock first to get to know the characters Recapitulation fills in gaps from the earlier book, told in flashbacks The character has returned to Salt Lake City 45 years after leaving, looks up old haunts and the memories come flooding back I was disappointed in the one item from This is a good book, but not great like The Big Rock Candy Mountain It s only half the length, but felt twice as long I wasn t compelled to read on like I was with the earlier book I would definitely read Big Rock first to get to know the characters Recapitulation fills in gaps from the earlier book, told in flashbacks The character has returned to Salt Lake City 45 years after leaving, looks up old haunts and the memories come flooding back I was disappointed in the one item from Bruce s to do list that he fails to fulfill in the end without giving away what that was As an ardent admirer of Wallace Stegner, I was thrilled to learn that he has written a sequel to The Big Rock Candy Mountain Whereas there is no candy in his earlier book, there is a surfeit of recall in Recapitulation Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake, the city of his youth, to bury his paternal aunt, a relative he barely knows and for whom he feels no affection He is initially flooded with delighted recollection but soon finds himself mired in memories of the last 45 years The young b As an ardent admirer of Wallace Stegner, I was thrilled to learn that he has written a sequel to The Big Rock Candy Mountain Whereas there is no candy in his earlier book, there is a surfeit of recall in Recapitulation Bruce Mason returns to Salt Lake, the city of his youth, to bury his paternal aunt, a relative he barely knows and for whom he feels no affection He is initially flooded with delighted recollection but soon finds himself mired in memories of the last 45 years The young boy Bruce, determined to flee the tyranny of his father s irascible anger and break away from the shame of his family s illegal business, has since gained an enviable social standing But the former ambassador remains bound to his past which has a stranglehold over him There is no action in this story All the drama unfolds in Bruce s recollections over the course of about a day The trip back to Salt Lake revives implacable memories not only of the trivial and sentimental including adolescent humiliations but also of deep seated pain and shame Bruce realizes he has unfinished business and old scores to settle with his father In this sequel, one sees events in TBRCM from Bruce s perspective and gets acquainted with Nola Gordon, the love of his life, and Joe Mulder, his one true friend This novel is an insightful exploration of the workings of memory Visiting parts of the city he frequented in his youth, Bruce is struck by the realization that he is no longer the same person even as he appraises a familiar past with the same eyes New shapes took over from old ones Memory had to be didn t it a series of overlays Thematically, it reminds me of Julian Barnes s The Sense of An Ending What one remembers is, perhaps of necessity and self preservation, not always a faithful account of events that actually transpired In Bruce s experience, recalling the most challenging years of his struggles compels him to rearrange or reshape memories to render them tolerable With Barnes, one is left in suspense and the truth is elusive with Stegner, the truth defies attempts at reconstruction.There are, in typical Stegner fashion, memorable lines Of his childhood, Bruce has this to say His childhood had been a disease that had produced no antibodies Forget for a minute to be humorous or ironic about it, and it could flare up like a chronic sinus Of his destiny and ours, Bruce observes rightly that it is easy enough to recover from a girl, who represents to some extent a choice It is not so easy to recover from parents, who are fate Of lost friendship and love, he reflects What they had once shared was indelible as if carved on a headstone, and was not, after so long a gap, to be changed or renewed Stegner is true to form in the strength of his prose style It is always a treat to read his superb way with words As a story this is less compelling than TBRCM largely because it is all introspective Stegner says this of Bruce, The feelings of that miserable time came out of the gray past and overwhelmed him It overwhelmed me too view spoiler The ending is not as I have wished The last item on Bruce s checklist, the one I most would have liked him to ink out as completed, does not happen But there is good reason for this Because the last thing he chooses and needs to ink out is the Bruce Mason of his youth that has usurped space in his mind and been a pretender to his feelings I hope that driving out of Salt Lake this last time, Bruce is preparing to embrace new beginnings hide spoiler A Stegner fan can read Recapitulation with a renewed appreciation of how much he understands human nature and holds up bits of life that we cannot fail to recognize as reflections of ourselves I feel like this book was written for me But that s only partially due to the fact that it s the story of a man returning to his boyhood home of Salt Lake City after a long absence, and I began reading it on my first visit to Salt Lake in nearly four years There were so many references to the city and its surrounds and its culture that I can t imagine anyone who hadn t grown up along the Wassatch Front to even comprehend it When Stegner describes an advancing thunderstorm as seen from the Sal I feel like this book was written for me But that s only partially due to the fact that it s the story of a man returning to his boyhood home of Salt Lake City after a long absence, and I began reading it on my first visit to Salt Lake in nearly four years There were so many references to the city and its surrounds and its culture that I can t imagine anyone who hadn t grown up along the Wassatch Front to even comprehend it When Stegner describes an advancing thunderstorm as seen from the Salt Lake City Cemetery by writing, The southern end of the Oquirrhs was gone, and a wall of black rain was advancing through Murray I not only know the scene, but I know what the air feels like, and what color the lake is, and what the slope of the mountain feels like underfoot And I love Stegner s description of the Salt Lake Temple Spiney as a horned toad I m sure non native readers can appreciate Recapitulation in the same way I loved Middlesex without ever having set foot in Detroit, or Love in the Time of Cholera without even knowing what Cartagena looks like But Stegner s prose coupled with my own nostalgia made this as vivid a books as I ve ever read As Utah born and a lifelong admirer of Stegner, I was way overdue for reading this very moving and stunningly beautiful narration of life in Salt Lake City over the course of decades I so admire his powers of description and his analyses of human motivation It is fitting closure to Big Rock Candy Mountain. I savor Stegner s work and this book particularly so beautifully and aptly describes Salt Lake City which is where I was born and continue to live Though I read it long ago, I still remember rereading sentences for their beauty and nostalgia This is a small little book I will reread. |DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⚖ Recapitulation ⚔ The moving sequel to the bestselling Big Rock Candy MountainBruce Mason returns to Salt Lake City not for his aunt s funeral, but to encounter after forty five years the place he fled in bitterness A successful statesman and diplomat, Mason had buried his awkward and lonely childhood, sealed himself off from the thrills and torments of adolescence to become a figure who commanded international respectBut the realities of the present recede in the face of the 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 embarrassing, 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 understanding how his life has been shaped by experiences seemingly remote and inconsequential I was first introduced to this wonderful author with his classic, Big Rock Candy Mountain The same characters of a boy and his parents continue in this work, as the now grown Bruce Mason, returns home to Salt Lake City following the death of an aunt the last of his living family.Stegner is a master of prose His lyrical writing style gently carries you into the world of Mason s past, hovering around the year 1929 Amazingly, despite the era, Stegner s foray into his character s thoughts and e I was first introduced to this wonderful author with his classic, Big Rock Candy Mountain The same characters of a boy and his parents continue in this work, as the now grown Bruce Mason, returns home to Salt Lake City following the death of an aunt the last of his living family.Stegner is a master of prose His lyrical writing style gently carries you into the world of Mason s past, hovering around the year 1929 Amazingly, despite the era, Stegner s foray into his character s thoughts and emotions, has the ability to strike a chord with modern readers the subject matter being truly timeless Mason confronts a past and people which, although painful, represent a pivotal time in his life It s a time when he realizes that he is not doomed to repeat the sins of his father, but that his life could be much, muchRecapitulation is a recollection of the singular events in Bruce Mason s past, but only Mason himself realizes their importance.A beautiful work, and one which I highly recommend This was the second book in Stegner s semi autobiographical novels and follows The Big Rock Candy Mountain It was written 45 years after the first and picks up where the first one leaves off, except in flashbacks from an older Bruce Mason Stegner as he returns to Salt Lake City for his aunt s funeral Although his writing is as gorgeous as usual, the story bogs down, particularly in the first half Mason is in college and then in law school as the story progresses through a failed romance, hi This was the second book in Stegner s semi autobiographical novels and follows The Big Rock Candy Mountain It was written 45 years after the first and picks up where the first one leaves off, except in flashbacks from an older Bruce Mason Stegner as he returns to Salt Lake City for his aunt s funeral Although his writing is as gorgeous as usual, the story bogs down, particularly in the first half Mason is in college and then in law school as the story progresses through a failed romance, his inability to find his purpose in life, and the ongoing trials with his family life He finally comes close to accepting his abusive father and gets some closure Although not as good as The Big Rock Candy Mountain, it s still a good read for those who like Stegner I feel like if I had read this right after Big Rock Candy Mountain I might have given it five stars With a clearer memory of that book, I think I might have felt like this wasof a continuation completion than a.well.a recapitulation.But maybe that was the point It is interesting to think about someone telling the same story at different points in their life and how the tellings would be different.