Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

I finished this gem of a book a couple of weeks ago and immediately put the rest of Stegner's works on my wishlist at Barnes & Noble. I love his style: it is simple yet lyrical, and he draws you into the lives of seemingly ordinary characters. (His style reminds me of Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake.) I suppose that's why I loved the book so much; I could totally relate to the characters. The book follows the lives of 2 couples who meet as young professors at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. Their wives, who are both pregnant, instantly connect, and they form a wonderful friendship. Stegner explores the evolution of relationships, highlighting both the beautiful vistas and the dark corners of marriage and friendship. I learned a lot about myself by reading it. I must admit that I had never heard of Stegner before a friend in my book club suggested him, but I am definitely a fan. Read it!

4 comments:

Jolly said...

"Angle of Repose" has been on my reading list for about 8 years...my hair dresser recommended it. ;-) He taught Wendell Berry, whose "A Place on Earth" I read last year and loved. So...now with your recommendation, I may just have to get down to it! I also read Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies" last year and liked it very much.

You've given me some good ideas--I just finished a book and am looking for another! Thanks Jess!
-Emily

Jolly said...

I should clarify, my hairdresser was a "he", but the "he" I meant is that Wallace Stegner taught Wendell Berry in college (my hair dresser didn't teach Wendell Berry--that would be very interesting and funny though, seeing as how my hairdresser is gay and Berry is a man's man). Okay...

Laura said...

I never recommended this to you? Crossing to Safety is my all time favorite book, although it's possible I hadn't discovered it until after we were roommates. Angle of Repose is fantastic. I like several others of his but would read Angle of Repose next; it's his pulitzer winner. As a point of interest, Stegner spent his teenage years in Salt Lake City which is the place he considered "home." (He had never lived anywhere for very long before that as his overbearing father moved them around a lot.) He wrote several books about the Mormons and was one of the early non-Mormon Mormon defenders. I've actually never read his books about Mormons but have always meant to.

Love,

Laura

Laura said...

Thinking over it more, the next books I'd recommend by him are All the Little Live Things and Big Rock Candy Mountain. I'm actually not done with Big Rock Candy Mountain (rereading Harry Potter got in the way beginning last May-ish and I've read Book 7 three times) but it's been beautiful.

Love,

Laura