Remembering Laughter - Wallace Stegner, Mary Stegner This novelette is a brief and powerful illustration of the destructive power of marital infidelity and unforgiveness. The hurt and guilt run so deep that they dam the flow of communication, and laughter becomes only a memory. It's chastely told, as was the custom back when people were content to use their imaginations regarding matters of intimacy. The text is sorrowful yet beautiful, evoking scenes of Iowa farm life through the seasons. All the literary gifts we associate with Wallace Stegner are here in his first effort, awaiting depth and ripening through experience. It fairly breaks my heart to return this little treasure to the library. They got it for me all the way from the University of Idaho through inter-library loan. It's a first edition cloth-bound jewel straight from 1937, with a spine so faded by sunlight that I can barely read the gold-stamped lettering. I can't stop stroking and sniffing the soft, aged pages. They have that wonderful smell of old paper well cared for, dry and almost acrid, but in a pleasant way. I must add this book to my personal collection, and I fear I've been spoiled. Nothing but a 1937 first edition will do. There's just something about a 74-year-old volume that connects me with my literary hero and the excitement he must have felt at having his first novel in print. (Now I really feel like Helene Hanff.)