Introduction by Terry Tempest Williams Afterword by T. H. Watkins Called a “magnificently crafted story . . . brimming with wisdom” by Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World, Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century. Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.
Four generations in the life of an American family are chronicled as retired historian Lyman Ward, confined to a wheelchair, decides to write his grandparent's history. The Pulitzer Prize-winning classic has been selected by the board of the Modern Library as one of the best hundred novels of the 20th century.
Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's National Book Award-winning novel, The Spectator Bird, returns in this disquieting and keenly observed novel. Scarred by the senseless death of their son and baffled by the engulfing chaos of the 1960s, Allston and his wife, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And although their new home looks like Eden, it also has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of drugs, yoga, and sex; and Marian Catlin, an attractive young woman whose otherworldly innocence is far more appealing—and far more dangerous.
Bo Mason, his wife, Elsa, and their two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks out his fortune - in the hotel business, in new farmland and eventually, in illegal rum-running through the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest. In this affecting narrative, Wallace Stegner portrays more than thirty years in the life of the Mason family as they struggle to survive during the lean years of the early twentieth century. Wallace Stegner was the author of, among other works of fiction, Remembering Laughter (1973); Joe Hill (1950); All the Little Live Things (1967, Commonwealth Club Gold Medal); A Shooting Star (1961); Angle of Repose (1971, Pulitzer Prize); The Spectator Bird (1976, National Book Award); Recapitulation (1979); Crossing to Safety (1987); and Collected Stories (1990). His nonfiction includes Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (1954); Wolf Willow (1963); The Sound of Mountain Water (essays, 1969); The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard deVoto (1964); American Places (with Page Stegner, 1981); and Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West (1992). Three short stories have won O.Henry prizes, and in 1980 he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for his lifetime literary achievements.
Author: John Williams
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Release Date: 2011-03-30
In his National Book Award–winning novel Augustus, John Williams uncovered the secrets of ancient Rome. With Butcher’s Crossing, his fiercely intelligent, beautifully written western, Williams dismantles the myths of modern America. It is the 1870s, and Will Andrews, ﬁred up by Emerson to seek “an original relation to nature,” drops out of Harvard and heads west. He washes up in Butcher’s Crossing, a small Kansas town on the outskirts of nowhere. Butcher’s Crossing is full of restless men looking for ways to make money and ways to waste it. Before long Andrews strikes up a friendship with one of them, a man who regales Andrews with tales of immense herds of buffalo, ready for the taking, hidden away in a beautiful valley deep in the Colorado Rockies. He convinces Andrews to join in an expedition to track the animals down. The journey out is grueling, but at the end is a place of paradisal richness. Once there, however, the three men abandon themselves to an orgy of slaughter, so caught up in killing buffalo that they lose all sense of time. Winter soon overtakes them: they are snowed in. Next spring, half-insane with cabin fever, cold, and hunger, they stagger back to Butcher’s Crossing to ﬁnd a world as irremediably changed as they have been.
Author: Michael Thomas
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Release Date: 2007-12-01
A New York Times Notable Book—the award-winning debut novel of race and family that “casts a new light on urban life in Brooklyn” (Time Out New York). “Like the characters of Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry . . . [our] unnamed narrator is a black man concerned with identity in a decidedly white America” (The Washington Post)—a father of three in a biracial marriage trying to claim a piece of the American Dream. On the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, he finds himself broke, estranged from his Boston Brahmin wife and three children, and living in a friend’s spare bedroom in Brooklyn. He has four days to come up with the money to keep his family afloat, and four days to make sense of his past and his future in a country where he feels preprogrammed to fail. But he has a powerful urge to escape that sentence. “In the great, dark churn of race and wealth, of poverty and prejudices, of judgments and forgivenesses that is the city, the hero of Man Gone Down charts a four-day, Homeric trek through what makes America and New York a social and racial nightmare as well as a dream that incredibly can still come true.” —Robert Sullivan, New York Times–bestselling author of Rats “Powerful and moving . . . recount[ing] the events of four desperate days in New York, [Man Gone Down] extends far beyond these boundaries of time and space.” —The New York Times Book Review “[A] jazzy, sinewy debut . . . Thomas’s urgent, quicksilver prose makes even the darkest moments of this novel shine.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
Author: Wallace Earle Stegner
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Release Date: 1985
A New England village, untouched by history since the American Revolution, is the unquiet arena containing, but just barely, the aloof natives and the summer residents. Their paths cross, happily or disastrously, in a book that seems too real to be fiction. As Wallace Stegner writes, the conflict on this particular frontier "has been reproduced in an endlessly changing pattern all over the United States."
Author: Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Publisher: Modern Library
Release Date: 2011-10-12
Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally powerful, vivid, and unforgettable re-creation of the Western novel, which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil, individual and community, justice and human nature. As Wallace Stegner writes, [Clark's] theme was civilization, and he recorded, indelibly, its first steps in a new country.
Winner of the National Book Award for First Work of Fiction "A very good novel indeed, with echoes of Gabriel García Márquez, Katherine Anne Porter, and even Graham Greene."--The New York Times Richard and Sara Everton, just over and just under forty, have come to the small Mexican village of Ibarra to reopen a copper mine abandoned by Richard’s grandfather fifty years before. They have mortgaged, sold, borrowed, left friends and country, to settle in this remote spot; their plan is to live out their lives here, connected to the place and to each other. The two Americans, the only foreigners in Ibarra, live among people who both respect and misunderstand them. And gradually the villagers--at first enigmas to the Evertons--come to teach them much about life and the relentless tide of fate.
Winner of three O. Henry Awards, the Commonwealth Gold Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Kirsch Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, Wallace Stegner was a literary giant. In Marking the Sparrow's Fall, the first collection of Stegner's work published since his death, Stegner's son Page has collected, annotated, and edited fifteen essays that have never before been published in any edition, as well as a little-known novella and several of Stegner's best-known essays on the American West. Seventy-five percent of the contents of this body of work is published here for the first time.
Author: John Updike
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2009-07-02
A beautiful, moving collection of short stories, in many of which Updike revisits the haunts of his childhood from the vantage point of old age. In 'Fiftieth' old friends reconnect at a class reunion, and one of them is left wondering, 'What does it mean: the enormity of having been children and now being old, living next to death.' In the story 'The Full Glass' the protagonist describes somewhat ruefully the rituals of old age. Before going to bed, he raises his nightly water glass 'drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.' In 'Varieties of Religious Experiences' a grandfather, visiting his daughter in Brooklyn Heights, watches the tower of the World Trade Centre fall, and his view of a God is forever altered. Again and again in these memorable stories, Updike strikes to the heart, giving words to what is so often left unsaid. He is at once witty, devastatingly observant, touching - and, of course, a consummate storyteller. This is a collection that will be admired and cherished.
A book of timeless importance about the American West and a modern classic by National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Wallace Stegner. The essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches collected in The Sound of Mountain Water encompass memoir, nature conservation, history, geography, and literature. Compositions delve into the post-World War II boom that brought the Rocky Mountain West--from Montana and Idaho to Utah and Nevada--into the modern age. Other works feature eloquent sketches of the West's history and environment, directing our imagination to the sublime beauty of such places as Robbers Roost and Glen Canyon. A final section examines the state of Western literature, of the mythical past and the diminished present, and analyzesd the difficulties facing any contemporary Western writer. Written over a period of twenty-five years, a time in which the West witnessed rapid changes to its cultural and natural heritage, and by a writer and thinker who will always hold a unique position in modern American letters, The Sound of Mountain Water is a hymn to the Western landscape, an affirmation of the hope emobided therein, and a careful and rich investigation of the West's complex legacy.
Literary agent Joe Allston, the central character of Stegner's novel All the Little Live Things, is now retired and, in his own words, 'just killing time until time gets around to killing me.' His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, had not been his choice. He passes through life as a spectator. A postcard from an old friend causes Allston to return to the journals of a trip he and his wife had taken years before, a journey to his mother's birthplace, where he'd sought a link with the past. The memories of that trip, both grotesque and poignant, move through layers of time and meaning, and reveal that Joe Allston isn't quite spectator enough. Wallace Stegner was the author of, among other works of fiction, Remembering Laughter (1973); The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943); Joe Hill (1950); All the Little Live Things (1967, Commonwealth Club Gold Medal); A Shooting Star (1961); Angle of Repose (1971, Pulitzer Prize); Recapitulation (1979); Crossing to Safety (1987); and Collected Stories (1990). His nonfiction includes Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (1954); Wolf Willow (1963); The Sound of Mountain Water (essays, 1969); The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard deVoto (1964); American Places (with Page Stegner, 1981); and Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West (1992). Three short stories have won O.Henry prizes, and in 1980 he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for his lifetime literary achievements.