Crossing to Safety

Stegner, Wallace. Crossing to Safety. New York: Random House, 1987.

Crossing to Safety is a story you have to stick with in order to understand. For the first 100 pages you might find yourself asking, “what is the point?” because it seems to be about two couples who have a great relationship with one another. It’s all about the ups and downs of their friendship through the years and Stegner’s characters move in and out of prose casually, almost nonchalantly. He makes assumptions that you already know them by name. There are no obvious introductions to anyone. What’s more, there is a certain carefree attitude of the first decade of their friendship as well (mid 1930s). The women of the bonded friendship, both pregnant at the same time, enjoy champagne on a picnic. As the story moves along you can’t help but be drawn into the loyalty of their friendship; the push and pull of individual need against the fabric of their woven relationship.

Favorite lines (and there were a bunch of them), “It was a toss-up who was neglecting whom” (p 84).

Reason read: Wallace Stegner went to the University of Iowa and was in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing, “the Iowa Writers’ Workshop” and Iowa became a state in December. Yes, it is a stretch but that’s what I’m doing.

Can I just say I love the picture of Wallace Stegner on the back of Crossing to Safety? Or maybe it’s just the sweater. As an aside I would like to thank Stegner for introducing me to the 1931 Marmon. What a classy (but gangster!) car!

Author fact: There is a great website dedicated to Wallace Stegner here.

Book trivia: People either love or hate the “nonplot” approach. I loved it…once I got used to it.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Growing Writers” (p 107).

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