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

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

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

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They are lovely people and you like them and all that – but they’re also a compromise to the circumstances of life.

I even went to Florence back when you could just waltz into the Uffizi without standing in hour-long lines constantly being approached by ‘brella salesmen. Be it the tension aboard a capsizing sailboat, around a barbeque gone wrong or the peace of a solitary early morning walk through a dewy forest, Stegner makes us feel present.

Charity is a force to be reckoned with; always organising others, always needing to control and direct key decisions. Larry and Sid (their wives are never given independent ambitions) begin as young, idealistic world-beaters, with aspirations towards publication. If this had happened in recent years, I would be compelled toward images of Clark What's-His-Name throwing off his glasses and business suit and emerging in his cape as Superman.

There they form an unlikely friendship with the Langs whose backgrounds are worlds apart from their own. Of course the good old days for us were the new unpredictable days of the mid-twentieth century for most of the country folk roundabout. But yet now I’ve been to these well orchestrated family picnics at Battell Pond, the Vermont compound belonging to Charity Lang’s family.Then as I dipped into the lavish reviews, it became the godlike voice that boomed at me through thunder clouds: "Do thyself a favour, mortal, and REEEAD THIS BOOOOK! Of course the closeness of the relationships and reliance of the couples on each other fluctuate over time, affected by world and family events.

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. Every story is told from someone’s perspective, Larry seems to be saying, don’t trust this to be the only version.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. You come to me and say, “I’m going away to a cabin in the woods by myself for a few days, to escape the noise of 21st century life. This is pretty much what Stegner has done – not by creating boring paragons but by presenting characters who “made mistakes” but who “never tripped anyone up to gain an advantage”. The scent of the maples is only noticeable as you enter the stand of spruce, and theirs, only while coming back into the maples. And like Larry, I've realized the strains that an environment of conformed thought places upon the creative mind, the lack of knowledge about the field, and the necessity of fellowships like Stegner's.

Polio alone establishes her as dependent, though her determination to live a good and loving life give her such strength that it's clear she wouldn't want to be classified as a victim. This, together with the fact that Larry frequently comments and reflects on life, memory and art, gives the book a complexity without detracting from its being an engaging story about interesting people.

Written from Larry’s perspective, Crossing to Safety is a moving exploration of the trials and tragedies of everyday life.

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

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