Crossing to Safety

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First edition (publ. Random House)

Crossing to Safety is a 1987 semi-autobiographical novel by "The Dean of Western Writers",[1] Wallace Stegner. It gained broad literary acclaim and commercial popularity.

In Crossing to Safety, Stegner explores the mysteries of friendship, and it extends Stegner's distinguished body of work that had already earned him a Pulitzer Prize (for 1971's Angle of Repose)[2] and the National Book Award (for 1976's The Spectator Bird).[3] Publishers Weekly described the novel as "an eloquent, wise and immensely moving narrative," and "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."[4] The story is told mostly in flashback; the narrator, Larry Morgan, and his wife, Sally, settle into their new home in Madison, Wisconsin, as Larry begins a term teaching creative writing at the university's English department. They soon befriend another couple, Sid and Charity Lang, and learn of Sid's ambition to succeed as a writer. As their careers mature, they take different paths, but they spend much of their time together on summer vacations in the small Vermont town where Charity's family has been coming for decades.[5]

Stegner's powerful but unassuming narrative traces the bond that develops between the Langs and the Morgans from their first meeting in 1937 through their eventual separation on the occasion of Charity's death from cancer.


  1. ^ Evelyn Boswell, "New Stegner professor to hit the ground running, Montana State University News Service, Oct. 5, 2010; retrieved 2013-08-13.
  2. ^ "1972 Winners"; retrieved 2013-08-13.
  3. ^ "National Book Awards – 1977", National Book Foundation; retrieved 2013-08-13.
  4. ^ Fiction Book Review: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Earle Stegner, Publishers Weekly; retrieved 2014-06-23.
  5. ^ Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner, Booksnob; retrieved 2014-03-14.