Crossing to Safety... Finally
I started reading Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safetyseveral years ago. I downloaded it on my then-new iPad Mini and read only the first several chapters. The strange thing is that I remember loving what I read, marveling at Stegner's bright, quiet prose. But then something happened, I suppose, and life got in the way and I never finished. Recently, my sister Ceara told me that she read it and loved it and this jogged my memory and I found my old Mini (which I rarely use) and found my way back to this book. Thank goodness I did.
Crossing to Safety is one of the best books I've ever read. It's a meditation on youth and age, art and ambition, meaning and marriage, life and death. I found myself highlighting so many lines. Words I loved:
"We were tender with one another in bed: babes in the woods, lost in a strange indifferent country, a little dispirited, a little scared."
"I believe that most people have some degree of talent for something -- forms, colors, words, sounds. Talent lies around in us like kindling waiting for a match, but some people, just as gifted as others, are less lucky. Fate never drops a match on them. The times are wrong, or their health is poor, or their energy low, or their obligations too many. Something."
"If Time alone makes masterpieces, as Anatole France thought, then great writing is just trial and error tested by time, and if it's that, then above all it has to be free, it has to flow from the gift, not from outside pressures."
"Hard times are instructive and humbling."
"... we forgot to worry about the future."
"Youth hasn't got anything to do with chronological age. It's times of hope and happiness."
"The only questions remaining to be asked were those whose answers we already knew and did not want to hear."
"Survival, it is called . Often it is accidental, sometimes it is engineered by creatures or forces that we have no conception of, always it is temporary."
It's curious to me that I began such a glorious book years ago, recognized its beauty, and didn't finish. I find myself wondering if this was because I was reading on a device? Had I been cradling a physical book, would I have abandoned it, forgotten about it so? I imagine not. No matter, I'm so pleased I took the time to finish this gorgeous novel, to let it seep into me. I can't wait to read more of Stegner's work.