When you read a book like Angle of Repose and you don't enjoy it, it doesn't mean you are dumb or not getting it. It simply means you like to enjoy reading. This book was boring. It was not meant to be enjoyed. It was meant to be proof of the author's writing prowess. When people who go for this type of writing describe it, they always say "beautiful writing" and "contemporary." Beware the contemporary, beautiful books if you want to enjoy your life.