It's like he knew what he was doing.
"How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these? Where are the things that novelists seize upon and readers expect? ... Where are the suburban infidelities, the promescuities, the convulsive divorces, the alcohol, the drugs, the lost weekends? ...
The people we are talking about are hangovers from a quieter time. They have been able to buy quiet, and distance themselves from industrial ugliness. ... Their intelligence and thier civilized tradition protect them from most of the temptations, indiscretions, vulgarities, and passionate errors that pester and perturb most of us."
Said the narrator of Crossing to Safety, as a reason not to write the book he apparently decided to write eventually. And true, some could call it a boring book. In fact every time I tried to tell Nate about it, he fell asleep: during dinner, on the patio, brushing his teethzzzzzz. But listen! It's not incredibly boring after all--there are disappointment, peril, hope, luck, world travel, polio, cancer, a mountain summertime getaway paradise (which as you may know, is an idea I am obsessed with), picnics involving steaks, a giant car and millions of dollars involved. Boring I think not.
And the fact is I've been wondering why it is so hard to find really well-written books written in the last 50 years that are about people whose traditional choices help them through hard times instead of making them look like fools.
I can think of two other books that helped me feel relieved that I didn't have to go and bring a book like that into creation: Joy in the Morning (Betty Smith) and The Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro).
I read a review that called Crossing to Safety the anti-Gatsby. Which made me laugh.
And now for the summing up of the
MORALS OF THE STORY:
1. Meet millionaires! Become their best friends forever!!!!*
2. Don't always take the compass route. Your best friend forever might have contracted polio!
3. If you're going to read Wallace Stegner, DO NOT read Angle of Repose. Read this!
*This one is especially relevant for you, Jesse & Catherine. Find the Ann Arbor young couple millionaires and stick like glue. They will make your life more awesome and hopefully provide you with a summer vacation spot at their cabin in the mountains every year. Where you will invite me.