Crossing to Safety (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2006
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Not only a book of a lifetime, Crossing to Safety is a book that comes at the end of a long lifetime of writing....a miraculous book, written with the wisdom of age but without seeming old...A book of great maturity, this one, and not to be missed.
-- Gillian Slovo, The Independent, Friday 5th December 2008
From the Inside Flap
Called a "magnificently crafted story . . . brimming with wisdom" by Howard Frank Mosher in "The Washington Post Book World, "Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century. Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is simply a beautifully told story about how a friendship formed and aged, so powerfully written that you will come to appreciate your own friends -- and how you came to be friends -- all the more for having made the journey with the couples in Crossing to Safety. This is a book you fall in love with and return to. I'm actually online right now to buy another copy.
'If we could have foreseen the future during those good years in Madison where all this began, we might not have had the nerve to venture into it ...' This book is about Life, I know that sounds corny but I can't think how else to put it. It is about two young couples and all that life throws at them. It will make you think about your own life and friendships and love and loyalty.
'Leave a mark on the world. Instead the world has left marks on us ...' Probably not a book to read when you're young - if I'd read this in my 20s, even my 30s, I don't think I'd have got it - but for the middleaged and slightly battered, a profoundly emotional read. One of those rare, unforgettable books that become part of what you are. (And the descriptions of New England landscapes are like a garden of Eden.)
While I found the start of the story enjoyable enough, it became increasingly painful to read, in part because of the manipulative character development. The four main characters are intended to be impressive (with repeated overt signs of how sophisticated and cultured they are) but to me each of them came across as annoying and unlikeable. The characters constantly heap praise and adulation on each other, referring to each other as "wonderful", "brilliant", "amazing", etc. , while at the same time each acts modest by pointing out that he/she has flaws. In addition, throughout the book there is an awkward and pretentious overuse of name-dropping of authors and literary references.Read more ›
Wallace Stegner tells the story of four friends, Larry and Sally Morgan and Sid and Charity Lang, who meet as new faculty members at Madison, Wisconsin. Sid and Charity are rich, while Larry and Sally are poor, but this disparity is soon forgotten as the Langs throw a party for all new members, at which performances are obligatory. The Langs proceed to adopt their poor relations, finding them intellectually stimulating and congenial. After a year, however, Larry is terminated despite his having published articles and a book, while, owing to the financial squeeze of the Depression, Sid is retained for just one more year. Early on it is established that Charity Lang is the leader of social and cultural events, insisting on the Morgans occupying their house over the summer vacation. Charity has plans, for everyone including the Morgans their ‘adoptive’ family and their new-born daughter, Lang Morgan.
Mostly the tone is reminiscential, as Larry recalls the glorious summer in Arcady before he became an editor for Uncle Richard in Albuquerque, a post in which he more than doubled his university salary. He has even managed to repay the Langs after several years, during which time both women have physically deteriorated - Charity, now a mulltiple mum, being stricken with cancer, Sally crippled with polio. But the parties continue, now with swarms of kids attached, as does Charity’s determination to divert her husband’s efforts from writing poetry into recognised scholarship.
I was thankful to find no happy ending, no tacked on or hopeful last episode - except for the symbolic survival of a presumed drowned mouse. As Larry says, ‘You can’t be close to the mortality of friends without being brought to think of your own.’ I felt that I had understood Larry and rooted for him in his battles with the redoubtable Charity, a finely drawn character whom I’d go a mile to avoid.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A compulsive read
The story of two couples from youth to old age. Thoughtful and entertaining
After a lyrical start with fine landscape descriptions, this novel became a hard read for me until I got to the middle. Read morePublished 3 months ago by David in Surrey
Loved this book! It will appeal to anyone who finds human nature interesting.Published 4 months ago by jill lawson
Well written but too much Botany for my liking. At times superb as near the end and a good description of the competitive difficulties of an academic career in the arts. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
an unexpected enjoyable book. A very quick delivery in good order. SheilaPublished 13 months ago by S. J. Urquhart
To gratefully quote a fellow reviewer:
“Probably not a book to read when you’re young – if I’d read this in my 20s, even my 30s, I don’t think I’d have got it – but for the... Read more
I read a mention of this in a biography, which said it was the best book about friendship that person had ever read. I ordered it there and then and am so glad I did. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Pam Vick