Book Notes: Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety

There are so many wonderful American authors I never heard about. I only just now discovered Wallace Stegner because I got his novel Crossing to Safety as a Christmas gift. People never give me books as gifts, by the way, which is sad because it would make me so happy if they did. The downside of reading this novel is that now I want to drop everything and go read every word Stegner has ever written. But that’s the story of my life.

The novel is beautifully written. But even more importantly, it’s about professors. Of English! During the Great Depression! Struggling for tenure and trying to get published! Is that fascinating or what?

The author had a fascinating life, by the way. His was a very typical American Dream success story. He grew up in a piss-poor, uneducated, wildly dysfunctional and abusive family. But through a lot of hard work he became a Harvard and then a Stanford professor, wrote 28 books, and won a Pulitzer and the National Book Award.

I feel very inspired by this guy at the start of the new semester.