This is lovely book about a young couple beginning in the Depression. He is an academic, and gets a job teaching in a small college in WI. There they meet a couple and become friends for life. The story concerns the friendship between the two couples, and how this friendship affects their lives.
Stegner is a wonderful writer, and you are really in the story with these characters. It really is about LIFE...all the ups and downs included.
I recommend this book for lovers of good literature, and a good story.
This book is why I love book club - I never would have picked this on my own, and I would have missed out on an absolute gem.
This is something of a "book about nothing." It is simply a love letter about friendship in all of its glory and its grief.
Stegner has a true gift for storytelling and character development. He can turn a phrase with the subtlety of a master and he is able to turn the mundane of life into something quietly profound.
This is a painfully beautiful story about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two couples that started during The Great Depression. It is both a book to treasure and a book to share. I'm so glad that I didn't miss out on this wonderful reading experience.
Stegner's "Crossing to Safety" is a quiet, mostly internalized book about friendship and self-discovery, and dealing with what life throws at us. It centers on two couples whom we meet at the beginnings of their careers â the men both instructors in a small Wisconsin college, the wives both beginning pregnancies â Sally's first and Charity's third. That coincidence of meeting at that time in their lives, under those circumstances, sets in motion a deep and abiding friendship that spans decades and brings them, at last, to an inevitable parting as one of the four faces life's end, each in their own characteristic and unique way.
To me, Charity Lang was the most interesting character. It is certainly she who drives most of the action â rushing into what seems an impetuous marriage and then taking her husband's career in hand, driving the friendship between the Langs and the Morgans through actions large and small, ranging from incredibly generous to utterly self-serving. Charity wants to run things. She is intelligent and organized, irresistable on a force-of-nature scale, and driven to have events and individuals line up just so. And perhaps the most infuriating thing about her is that she is so often right, even when the targets of her indomitable will think they want something entirely different than she has in mind for them. Is she a monster? Is she a mother-hen? Utterly selfish, or ultimately selfless?
That's part of the fascination, and it all unfolds in Stegner's impeccable prose. This is writing that does not knock your socks off. Rather it knits itself around your soul, cocooning and protecting and warming and sometimes threatening to smother. And then Stegner will step back and put to paper the very questions the reader may have been asking â âHow do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these? Where are the things that novelists seize upon and readers expect? Where is the high life, the conspicuous waste, the violence, the kinky sex, the death wish? Where are the suburban infidelities, the promiscuities, the convulsive divorces, the alcohol, the drugs, the lost weekends? Where are the hatreds, the political ambitions, the lust for power? Where are speed, noise, ugliness, everything that makes us who we are and makes us recognize ourselves in fiction?â
Because none of these things are present in âCrossing to Safetyâ. And yet one does want to read it. Wants to know how these very approachable characters will organically grow into each others' lives and make them fuller and richer and more satisfying. Wants to get through the heartbreak of loss and resolve the anger one feels toward the ways in which we try, each in our own way, to manage the end of our lives.
But this is not a book about death. It's a book about life, with its pleasures and pains and the way it can intertwine with other lives in enriching and unexpected ways. About the difference between burden and blessing, and about those essential, unchanging memories, qualities, beliefs that we carry with us all our lives, through whatever crossings fortune throws at us as we seek shelter and safety and completion.
A friend recommended this as a fave book and I hadn't ready any Wallace Stegner. He does an amazing job narrating life in its different circumstances, about those who are born to have life be easy for them and those who struggle with each day. It is an extended story about families, traditions and long-enduring friendship. I'll have to try another Stegner book.
This book is a gift to everyone who is a friend or has a friend - basically everyone. It is the beautifully-written story of two couples who remain close despite changes in physical location and life-altering situations. Wallace Stegner writes of each couple's unfailing courtesy toward and compassion for the other in truly memorabe prose. The reader is able clearly to see each person individually, as part of a couple and as a member of their quartet. I truly hated to see this book end and I already look forward to reading it again and again.
This is a quiet book about the long term friendship between two married couples. It is beautifully descriptively written with completely interesting characters. It's one you want to read in front of a warm fire where you can settle in and read for a long time.
"Crossing to Safety" is a work of great distinction. It is the semi-autobiographical story of a lifelong friendship between two academic couples. When I sat down to read this Wallace Stegner masterpiece, I would not have thought that the the unadorned lives of two couples who were young during the Depression years would hold my interest as to dod. However, I began to feel that I knew these individuals as if they were a members of my own family. I understood why they held to each other and what drew them apart. I understood all these things while having the privilege of reading glorious literature. My only wish is that I had a stronger classical education so that I could grasp the full intellectual depth of everything Stegner had to write.