Finding Gold In Novels Missed
Contributor
Written by
Jenni Ogden
November 2012
Writing
Contributor
Written by
Jenni Ogden
November 2012
Writing

Wallace Stegner’s American classic, “Crossing To Safety” has probably been read by the majority of the She Writes community, but as a New Zealander, I sadly missed out: this author didn’t appear on our school reading lists. So thank you to a panel of well-known novelists (including Jeffrey Eugenides, author of “Middlesex”) on an Australian TV book club programme, who rated this as the best novel they had ever read. I bought it (and am very pleased I have the real book as it wasn’t available as an e-book on Amazon), and devoured it. How did I miss this all my life. Stegner is a beautiful writer and this book is the best I have read this year and one of my favourite books ever. How refreshing to read a story about two couples who remain friends all their lives without having to have affairs, kids who go off the rails, suicide attempts, etc, and where each couple continues to love their partner unconditionally throughout. The four main characters in this book are deeply and empathetically drawn. How easy it is to see aspects of ourselves reflected in one or other of them; to see our own relationships mirrored in theirs; to find ourselves wanting to shake Charity, even while knowing that for Sid she is his other half. In some respects Stegner's writing reminds me of Rumer Godden, the English author of "China Court" and "In This House of Brede", both favourites of mine. Are there writers still living that can write like these wonderful writers, now gone? I haven't found them. Put this on your bucket list to read soon, if you haven't already, or perhaps read again to remind you what perfect writing is all about.

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Comments
  • Jenni Ogden Writing

    Thanks, Valorie. So many books and so little time!

  • Valorie Grace Hallinan

    Jenni, I really like what you wrote about Stegner's novel. I read it a few years back and really liked it, too. I have been wanting to read more of him. And I love Rumor Godden! I believe she said something like, we are a house with different rooms - emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual - and we must nurture all of these aspects within ourselves. Or something like that, I know I'm not quoting her well. I read one or more of her memoirs (can't remember the title(s) now but she is wonderful. I think I read In This House of Brede when I was young, in a Reader's Digest abridged version my mother subscribed to!