Sunday, December 6, 2015

Staff Review: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Published in 1987, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner somehow escaped my notice all these years until it was recommended by author Will Schwalbe in The End of Your Life Book Club. It is strange that this book eluded me both because it has become a modern classic and also because the story is set in part at my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

This is a lovely, heartwarming, and heartbreaking story of two young couples whose lives become intertwined in 1937 and remain so for decades. When Larry and Sally Morgan and Sid and Charity Lang meet, the men are just beginning their careers as teachers and aspiring writers at the University of Wisconsin. The married couples are enthralled with each other, despite their different backgrounds, and they appear inseparable. Life inevitably intervenes, though, both with its joys and disappointments. It is moving to watch the marriages and friendships wax and wane as time marches on.

Crossing to Safety drew me in from the start with its nostalgic tone and beautiful prose. It would appeal to readers who love smart writing and enjoy following characters and relationships throughout a lifetime. Those looking for rich geographic and historical settings will also not be disappointed, as Stegner brings to life Depression-era Madison, Wisconsin, and rural Vermont, where the couples’ lives play out.

~Abbey, Technical Services

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