Crossing to Safety (Modern Library) (Modern Library Classics)

£9.9
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Crossing to Safety (Modern Library) (Modern Library Classics)

Crossing to Safety (Modern Library) (Modern Library Classics)

RRP: £99
Price: £9.9
£9.9 FREE Shipping

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Description

They are a habitat we were once fully adapted to, a sort of Peaceable Kingdom where species such as ours might evolve unchallenged and find their step on the staircase of being. It was, in my view, 1) highly sentimental, 2) populated with annoying characters who were in unhealthy yet romanticized relationships, 3) just not that interesting. In Crossing to Safety we live with the characters as they acquire their scar tissue, right till the very end.

Because this human story was capably written and wonderfully realised, it didn't need any flash bang wallop or bells and whistles. He describes them minutely, painstakingly, even relating a section of Sid and Charity’s courtship as though he were an omnipresent observer, though he had not yet met them. I am trying to reread (something I’m not very good at…I’m such a shallow reader) and I named Angle of Repose as one I plan (hope?

Wallace’s elegant, gentle and refined storytelling skills gave me shivers down my spine from the very first page (I promise you’re not going to find a single swear word in these pages). Up to our chins in the water that foamed through its marble bowl, tiptoeing the smooth bottom to keep our noses above the surface, the light wavering and winking down on us and flickering off the curved walls, trees overhanging us and the sky beyond those, and all around and through us, a soul-massage, the rush and patter and tinkle of water and the brush and break of bubbles. In chapters that alternate between their present older age (60s) and their younger years, we learn about their romances and their struggles.

Their social differences linger in the background throughout, as does Charity’s controlling personality, a constant threat to the stability of her marriage and the relationship with the Morgans. Wallace Stegner, an American author born in 1909, is perhaps best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning novel Angle of Repose (1972). Let me say upfront that on reading the first 60 pages of Crossing to Safety I already knew it had the potential to be one of my favourite books of the year, and I’m sticking with this thought. A lifelong but complex friendship develops over decades as they share love, loyalty, vulnerability and conflict.On the one hand I needed two weeks for 280 pages which is not a good sign, on the other hand I enjoyed reading it a lot.

In Crossing to Safety, however, the outside world seldom intrudes on a very insular, inward-looking story. But in a sense it feels as though that is the surface, and that there are deeper, less obviously expressed themes throughout the book. I assumed, based on the endless 5-star ratings out there for this book, that it was going to be a slam dunk for me.Once you start to pair off, however, and your previously single-and-carefree friends do likewise, you wake up one morning to realize that all your friends are couple-friends.

Pretty well everyone in my group didn’t want to hurry through the book because we all wanted to savour the time spent with those people (even Charity! I think what he’s saying is that something as seemingly mundane as the friendship of two couples can be as riveting and universal as tragic choices or spectacular heroics. Late in the book, the husband of one of Charity and Sid's daughters refers to Sid as being a captive husband, and we are led to see that the husbands are all captive to their wives in some way, Sid from unwillingness to stand against Charity; Larry because his crippled wife, Sally, depends on him.As organized and controlling as Charity is, she cannot control death or any of what will come after. Stegner composed a brilliant life contrast: the optimism and enthusiasm of two young, married couples starting out in Madison, Wisconsin, when hope sprung eternal, versus these same marrieds, thirty years on, after life, though gracing them in different ways, has ineluctably dealt each major disappointments and forced them into cathartic concessions.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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