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Crossing to Safety (Modern Library Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Wallace Stegner , Terry Tempest Williams , T.H. Watkins
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (387 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.76
You Save: $6.24 (39%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Introduction by Terry Tempest Williams
Afterword by T. H. Watkins
 
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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's deceptively simple: two bright young couples meet during the Depression and form an instant and lifelong friendship. "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these?" Larry Morgan, a successful novelist and the narrator of the story, poses that question many years after he and his wife, Sally, have befriended the vibrant, wealthy, and often troubled Sid and Charity Lang. "Where is the high life, the conspicuous waste, the violence, the kinky sex, the death wish?" It's not here. What is here is just as fascinating, just as compelling, as touching, and as tragic.

Crossing to Safety is about loyalty and survival in its most everyday form--the need to create bonds and the urge to tear them apart. Thirty-four years after their first meeting, when Larry and Sally are called back to the Langs' summer home in Vermont, it's as if for a final showdown. How has this friendship defined them? What is its legacy? Stegner offer answers in those small, perfectly rendered moments that make up lives "as quiet as these"--and as familiar as our own. --Sara Nickerson

From Publishers Weekly

Adding to a distinguished body of work that already has earned him a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Awardand on the 50th anniversary of the publication of his first novelStegner's new book is an eloquent, wise and immensely moving narrative. It is a meditation on the idealism and spirit of youth, when the world is full of promise, and on the blows and compromises life inevitably inflicts. Two couples meet during the Depression years in Madison, Wis., and become devoted friends despite vast differences in upbringing and social status. Hard work, hope and the will to succeed as a writer motivate the penurious narrator Larry Morgan and his wife Sally as he begins a term teaching at the university. Equally excited by their opportunities are Sid Lang, another junior man in the English department, and his wife Charity. They are fortune's children, favored with intelligence, breeding and money. Taken into the Langs' nourishing and generous embrace, the Morgans have many reasons for gratitude over the years, especially when Sally is afflicted with polio and the Langs provide financial as well as moral support. During visits at the Langs' summer home on Battell Pond in Vermont and later sharing a year in Florence, the couples feel that they are "four in Eden." Yet the Morgans observe the stresses in their friends' marriage as headstrong, insufferably well-organized Charity tries to bully the passive Sid into a more aggressive mold. Charity is one of the most vivid characters in fiction; if she is arrogant, she is also kindhearted, enthusiastic, stalwart and bravean ardent liver of life. Her incandescent personality is both the dominant force and the source of strain in the enduring friendship Stegner conveys with brilliant artistry. He is also superb at expressing a sense of place, and his intelligent voice makes cogent observations on American society in the decades of his setting. But most importantly, he speaks to us of universal questions, reflecting on "the miserable failure of the law of nature to conform to the dream of man." In doing so, he has created a believable human drama the dimensions of which reach out beyond the story's end and resonate in the reader's heart. BOMC and QPBC alternates; Franklin Library Signed First Edition Society selection.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 574 KB
  • Print Length: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUDI60
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,673 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
229 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brimming With Wisdom And Love August 31, 2004
Format:Paperback
I was about to be captive on a 7 1/2 hour plane trip- I went into Powell's bookstore in the airport, and somehow I was drawn to this book. I had heard about this book from a friend, and as soon as I saw the title I knew this was it! What a wonderful plane trip- I was on the next to last page as we landed and read the last two pages while waiting for my luggage. Whoopee, what a book, what a read, I hated for it to end. It is one of those kinds of books.

"Crossing to Safety" by Wallace Stenger is the kind of book that you read once in a life time. The characters become so real and so alive. You like these people; you do not want any of life's mysteries and sadness to befall on any them. Well, maybe that couple that was so nasty, no, no, not even them.

Larry and Sally Morgan move to Madison, Wisconsin in the 1930's to start their life. Sally is pregnant, and Larry is about to start a teaching job at the university. They have little money and his job is a lifesaver. Larry's dream is to be a writer and he has published one article. At a faculty party they meet Charity and Sid Lang. Sid comes from big money and they have all they need besides two children and one on the way. Charity and Sally get along famously, and Sid and Larry develop a bond.

This novel follows these two marriages, the ins and outs and the personal issues they each face. We are rarely allowed into a marriage to see all the warts. Over the next many years we follow both families from Wisconsin to Vermont and Cambridge and Italy. We see the friendships between the couples develop. We learn that Charity must manipulate and control- and that Sid needs the push she gives him. Larry becomes a well read author with several books and articles. Sally is happy to be a wife and mother until tragedy befalls.
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141 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading July 31, 1999
Format:Paperback
This is the book my wife and I fell in love with after we fell in love with each other more than 12 years ago. Whenever we talk with friends about favorite books, we INSIST that they read Crossing to Safety. We've had to buy several copies over the years because we keep lending copies out -- and we can't blame any of our friends for not returning this book. It's a keeper. Wallace Stegner said this novel was the closest he came to writing autobiographically, which explains a certain brightness not found in, say, Angle of Repose (although AOR is an equally beautiful story).
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.
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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars instead, the world has left marks on us February 8, 2001
Format:Paperback
'Crossing to Safety' is a novel about the intertwined lives of two couples. More generally, it is about the various ways we express the search for meaning, about gradually lost causes, about vulnerability and kindness, about the complicated dependencies of marriage, about coming of age, slowly, over the course of a lifetime. The plot is simple -- two couples meet because the husbands teach for a time at the same campus, and the four become lifelong friends. Although the story spans decades, there are very few dramatic incidents. This lack of external drama may disappoint those who like plots which move steadily forward, driven by significant events and bold action. However that very lack of action and heroism is part of the novel's essence. Our lives are generally prosaic, not epic. Our stories do not end tidily in fifty minute prime-time segments. The narrator speaks to this: "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these? Where is the high life, the conspicuous waste, the violence, the kinky sex, the death wish? [...] Where are speed, noise, ugliness, everything that makes us ... recognize ourselves in fiction?" From these quiet lives, Stegner vividly sketches the emotional landscape in which the characters move, making for all its lack of fireworks a surprisingly compelling story. The book has been praised as a wonderful and uplifting portrayal of friendship developed over many years. That might sound a little maudlin or simplistic on the face of it, but it does not come across that way at all. It is difficult to summarize the philosophical tone of the novel. It is at the same time wry, realistic, and sympathetic, generally optimistic about our native toughness and the possibility of grace, and ambivalent about questions of grand purpose. Read more ›
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted To Love It... June 29, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The premise was wonderful - a subtle, sometimes moving, sometimes disturbing examination of the lifelong friendship of two couples. I didn't have to think twice about buying this one after I read the synopsis. The first several chapters seemed to be living up to its' promise. I was touched by the early scenes where the Morgans and the Langs first met and seemed to know instantly that they had found something special. Charity Lang showed signs of being a wonderfully unforgettable character - sometimes sweet, sometimes manipulative, always fascinating. A little further on, however, something changed. The author seemed to abandon character development and instead concentrate on lavishly detailed descriptions of places and events. He hinted at the passive/dominant relationship between Sid and Charity, but gave us very few first hand glimpses. Instead, we had to take the word of our narrator, Larry, based on his passing mentions of past events and comments to his wife Sally. There was so little actual interaction between the two couples - the one sequence during which they spent a good deal of time together, the hiking trip, was as much about Larry fretting over his career than it was about showing us anything about the relationships - that one wonders how accurate Larry's point of view could be. The hike ends in tragedy, and we jump ahead to more than a decade later in Italy, where the foursome are spending a year together. Much of this sequence, too, involves Larry recalling past events; mentioning in passing, rather than describing, how deeply entwined the two couples lives became as they dealt with Sally's illness and the financial burden it brought upon the Morgans. We see one more example of Charity's controlling personality, before jumping ahead years later to when Charity is on her deathbed. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars which i recommend when reading a book such as this that is ...
Stegner's understanding of relationships in all their complexities make this a poignant novel. My wife and i read the book together on my ipad, which i recommend when reading a... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Tom Dillon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a beautifully written, realistic novel about friendship and marriage.
Published 5 days ago by sandra granchelli
3.0 out of 5 stars though I enjoyed some of it
I thought the Italy section was too long,though I enjoyed some of it.
Published 8 days ago by Frances Greenbaum
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A lovely, enjoyable book.
Published 8 days ago by Daniel Sokolow
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, character-driven novel
It took me awhile to get into this book. I stuck with it since I was reading it with my book club and I'm so glad I did. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jennifer Rodriguez
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written.
An American classic that I missed reading. Beautifully written.
Published 14 days ago by Cynthia Kraack
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
okay. Title is confusing
Published 16 days ago by Linda H.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Never finished it.
Disappointing. Never finished it.
Published 16 days ago by george
4.0 out of 5 stars Wallace Stegner transports the Reader to a different world.
Wallace Stegner writes so beautifully- reading him is like taking a literature class for an advanced degree. Read more
Published 16 days ago by rwr4
5.0 out of 5 stars Stegnér at his best!
Beautiful language. Totally captivating emotionally. Loved it.
Published 17 days ago by Alan H Davis
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