Study Guide

Angle of Repose Part 8, Chapter 1

By Wallace Stegner

Part 8, Chapter 1

Part VIII: The Mesa

  • Although Susan claims that she was forced into a separation from her husband, Lyman is pretty sure that it was Susan herself who was behind it.
  • Susan continues writing stories and drawing pictures on Vancouver Island. It's a nice place, but she doesn't feel entirely settled.
  • In 1889, Susan receives a letter from Oliver telling her that their irrigation plan might be alive after all. She even halfheartedly suggests that Thomas and Augusta buy land along the canal so they can live near each other for once.
  • Susan finally heads back to Idaho in August of that year. This is by far the least exciting reuniting this couple has had so far.
  • Oliver loads everyone up into a buggy and heads out of town. Susan looks at the familiar Idaho backwoods until she spots a giant house with a "veranda-like promenade" surrounding the front (8.1.40).
  • This is Susan and Oliver's home. Susan is shocked—it's exactly the type of home they had talked about building. Oliver even moved a bunch of yellow climber roses from their house in the valley and will be planting a full-on rose garden next summer.
  • But, how did Oliver get the money? First, he had the company buy back the canyon home for the agreed-upon price. Second, he sold a few stocks of canal land to Bessie and John.
  • Susan doesn't like the idea of Bessie and John being caught up in the business. To be honest, she's not even very excited about the house—it feels too permanent.
  • It does cheer up Susan to know that some old friends are still around. Wiley, Charley Wan, and John the workman have all been hired back by Oliver.
  • Oh, yeah, and Frank will be coming back, too. Susan's heart jumps at the sound of his name, and she worries that Oliver was "searching her face for an answer to a question of his own" (8.1.81).