Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why I love Crossing to Safety and How You Can Win a Free Copy

There is this book by this guy that is so darn good it's the kind of novel that makes you want to lick every page. That book is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Chronicling the ups and downs of a thirty+ year long friendship between two couples, Stegner's characters are perfect specimens of humanity rendered with empathy and dignity. None of the four are perfect, neither are they all that likable throughout the entire book but isn't that the case with all people? Can you look at anyone you like or even love and honestly say that you like/love everything about them, all the time? At times each of the characters shock and surprise, disappoint and hearten; with every Stegner I read I am struck by the honesty with which he approaches his characters.

I think that my favourite parts of Crossing to Safety are the descriptions of the scenery; Stegner employs such vivid and lush details that I can it in the back of my throat. At the very beginning he describes walking on a path through woods:

"Dew has soaked everything. I could wash my hands in the ferns, and when I pick  leaf off a maple branch I get a shower on my head and shoulders. Through the hardwoods along the foot of the hill, through the belt of cedars where the ground is swampy with springs, through the spruce and balsam of the steep pitch, I go alertly, feasting my eyes. I see coon tracks, an adult and two young, in the mud, and maturing grasses bent like croquet wickets with wet, and spotted orange Amanitas, at this season flattened or even concave and holding water, and miniature forests of club moss and ground pine and ground cedar. There are brown caves of shelter, mouse and hare country, under the wide skirts of spruce."

Tell me that you didn't feel the dew on your arms, or that you aren't seeing the bright, almost fluorescent green of wet pine needles in the early light of day.

Hot damn, I love this guy! After reading Crossing to Safety I promptly set out about reading his entire canon. I've read five so far and they've all been wonderful so, in hopes of creating some more Stegner fans we are giving away a (gently) used copy of Crossing to Safety to one lucky reader. To find out how, click here.

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