Stegner, Autumn, & New England


Started reading Wallace Stegner's book Crossing To Safety while up at the family cabin this week. So far so beautiful. Though it is set in Madison, Wisconsin I imagine it in New England. It's fall time and the fall semester is just underway. There are fanciful dinners in lovely houses, picnics in the countryside, and discussions of literature and life. Stegner has a way with words that make you want to cry at the end of every's just so beautiful. Here's a taste or two:

There was a glint of settling frost in the air. Our voices and breath went up and mixed with the shadows of trees and the bloom of arc lights and the glitter of stars.

She has great dignity and presence when she is cornered, and when she reads that antique poetry she can bring tears to your eyes. It is much better than if you could understand it. She chants out of a remote time with the clang of bronze in it.

This book has stirred up my deep love for New England in the fall...I admit that I have one regret in life: not attending a beautiful university in New England. These days I am day-dreaming of sitting at Walden Pond, gathering flowers where Louisa May Alcott wrote, and reciting Whitman to my own secret Dead Poet's Society.


Dee said...

I get the BEST book recommendations from you blog posts! I love the excerpt! I have abut 20 to-read books on my nightstand as it is, so overwhelming, but I'm thinking I'll have to narrow it down to those that are this beautifully written.

I also have dreams of attending one of those east coast universities. Have you ever watched Gilmore Girls? It's the best t.v. show that ever was created I think. I loved watching Rory go to Yale!

ali said...

I love Crossing to Safety times ten. Did you finish it? It's one of my favorites. Have you read the Angle of Repose? It's very good, too, though it lacks the Wisconsin-turned-New England setting.