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momac

Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety

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While reading near the beginning of this book I came across an expression I had to look up....." He held her hands high and had her pirouette under them - in effect, they boxed the gnat." Did not know that this was a square dance move - am enjoying this book and am sure there will be other occasions where I have to look up American expressions.

Edited by megustaleer

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I wouldn't have known that term either, momac. Kerry? Dan?

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I wouldn't have known that term either, momac. Kerry? Dan?

Nope. I don't know anything about square dancing, except maybe do-si-do.

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I'm wondering if it's possible for one of the mods to change the name of this thread from Walter to Wallace?

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I'm wondering if it's possible for one of the mods to change the name of this thread from Walter to Wallace?

You mean I'm reading the wrong book? :). Sorry, sometimes (often?) I get the names wrong. How embarrassing. :(

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I'm wondering if it's possible for one of the mods to change the name of this thread from Walter to Wallace?

Done. 

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You mean I'm reading the wrong book? :)

:D

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I'm going to look for this book tomorrow morning. Have no idea if it's available in either of our book stores.

 

ETA the apostrophe :)

Edited by Ting Mikyunyu

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I'm going to look for this book tomorrow morning. Have no idea if it's available in either of our book stores.

 

ETA the apostrophe :)

 

There is a Kindle edition.

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Well done Luna - I've seen square dancing on telly and it's really colourful with the women in short crinoline type skirts and the men in plaid shirts and string ties (plus other clothing, of course).

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Well done Luna - I've seen square dancing on telly and it's really colourful with the women in short crinoline type skirts and the men in plaid shirts and string ties (plus other clothing, of course).

 

I've seen it, on occasion, on TV too.  It's great what reading can do for you!

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Not an option for me, unfortunately.

Oh, I'm sorry. I hope you find it!

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I've started this novel and think I will enjoy it.

 

ETA: like momac I've had to ponder some expressions: "a few dollars on white paint and dotted swiss"  where the latter I suppose refers to cotton curtains.

Edited by chuntzy

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Finished reading Crossing to Safety today. I liked it, but I didn't love it, at least not in comparison to Angle of Repose, Big Rock Candy Mountain, or All the Little Live Things. The characterization was excellent and the prose was clear. But there wasn't the extended creative wordsmith/ poet that I've come to expect from Stegner. It felt like a novel he needed to get off his mind, without fully committing to the entire story. It seems like it should have been more episodic, or twice the length. I found the story only fitfully engaging, although the last section was powerful and moving. Sorry to be critical but this novel didn't get it done for me, possibly because my expectations were too high.

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Read your review Dan - I'm only 30% into the book and am really loving his descriptions of the countryside, can almost smell the scent of the trees and the wet earth. Haven't formed much opinion about the characters except to say that the strength of the friendship seems so much that there's the sense of trouble down the road. Don't know anything about the plot as haven't read any blurbs about the book so it's all quite tantalizing to see how it all shakes out. Just taking it slow and enjoying it.

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I am about fifty pages into this book and am absoloutly loving it. I read Dan's comments with regard to the language used by Stegner with some surprise. It is my first Stegner novel and like Momac am finding the descriptions of just about anything and everything to be one of the best bits for me. As I said to RG a little while ago, having read a few pages upon waking up,at times the language that Stegner uses almost leaves prose behind and borders on poetry. Sounds a bit daft I know. Like others some of the expressions used I do not fully understand so have been glad of the explanations given.

 

At the moment, like Momac, I am not too sure where the book will go. I rarely read the descriptions on the back of books before starting, just like to go on recommendation alone. If Dan is right and other of his novels have more of a story I suspect that this will not be the last Stegner book I will read! It is worth it for the language itself.

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 that the strength of the friendship seems so much that there's the sense of trouble down the road. .

 

That's exactly what I was thinking.  Does Charity become too much of a good thing? (like others I haven't gone for any resumes or plot outlines - if there is a plot!)

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Like CP I find Stegner's descriptions quite poetic, in fact, while I was reading I was thinking that I'd love to be there at that moment to experience what he was writing.  Chuntzy, I think near the beginning there is the odd hint that Charity is maybe not behaving in the way she used to - I need to get back to the book.  We've had a bit of an upsetting week so I've not been too interested in reading much but after reading Dan's review I'm anxious to get back into 'Crossing'.

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Really glad to hear you folks are enjoying this book. A big part of why I posted was that I'd talked Stegner up so much, and I was afraid the lack of posts indicated people felt dissatisfaction with the book. Your views confirm the idea that my anticipation of reading it colored my views while reading it. Stegner is a very good writer and I zipped through the book. But it was vaguely unsatisfying for me and that is what my post was about.

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Just got to the traumatic event of Lang being born. Loving the book, the wonderful prose makes it such a pleasurable read that a few times I've found myself reading way past my bedtime :)

Not read any of his books or studied the book before reading, but am aware that Wallace Stegner was a college professor and this book he wrote late in life. Is the book semi autobiographical?

I got the penguin classic paperback and love the picture on the front, a photograph by Joel Meyerowitz. Searched everywhere to find a print to no avail.

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The Wikipedia article on Stegner says that Crossing to Safety is semi-autobiographical.  It's very hard to characterize his career because he wrote non-fiction (about John Wesley Powell, one of the great heroes of the exploration of the American West), worked in on environmental issues related to the American West (even working as a special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, who was also an important environmental figure), and teaching creative writing at Stanford in Palo Alto, California (where I got my graduate degree).  His creative writing students included Larry McMurtry, who wrote Lonesome Dove, a book that I am always plugging on BGO.  Crossing to Safety is his first book, published when he was 62.  

 

As those of you who read the thread on Angle of Repose know, both Dan and I were stunned at his beautiful language and I agree with all of you who say it moves from prose into poetry.  I haven't started this book yet because if I put down the last "Game of Thrones" book, I'm afraid I won't pick it back up.  But I am sorely tempted.  

 

I am very pleased that all of you are enjoying the book so much.  Stegner is considered the "Dean of Western Writers" and I am afraid that that means that those on the east coast of the United States have pigeonholed him (much as they pigeonhole Larry McMurtry, who wrote, as I emphasize again, the great book, Lonesome Dove) and so he's very under-valued outside of the American West.  I think that's why most of you have not previously heard of him.  I've learned so much about British authors that are not familiar to Americans (Jane Gardam, etc.) that I'm certainly glad to be able to return the favor.

Edited by Binker
To correct "autographical" to "autobiographical."

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Am at the point of feeling a bit of dislike creeping in as I read of Charity's controlling ways, however, only halfway through the book and I'm sure there will be further revelations in store. I love Stegner's writing.

 

Binker, I'm a fan of Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove, didn't read the book but have the DVD's. I've read a couple of his other books but can't bring to mind their titles.

Edited by momac

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