The prompt: Please highlight one of your favorite books and why you would consider it "literary."
To begin, my over-simplified definition of literary means a novel that offers more than plot. A literary novel features great writing, character development, themes or ideas that cause you to think, or any number of other elements we all learned about in high school English classes.
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner is one of my all-time favorite books. This was his last novel, written in 1987, and comes to mind every time I hear the words "character development".
The novels follows two couples, who meet in the 1930's at a university faculty party in Wisconsin, through decades of friendship and marriage. Larry and Sally Morgan, just starting their lives together, are thankful for the new teaching position. Larry dreams of becoming a writer and Sally is pregnant. Charity and Sid Lang seem to have it all - money, social status, and two children, with a third on the way.
The premise of the novel may not sound exciting, but the characters, and the settings, are remarkable and true. The story of their friendship and marriages is powerful and beautifully written.
"Crossing to Safety is about loyalty and survival in its most everyday form--the need to create bonds and the urge to tear them apart. Thirty-four years after their first meeting, when Larry and Sally are called back to the Langs' summer home in Vermont, it's as if for a final showdown. How has this friendship defined them? What is its legacy? Stegner offer answers in those small, perfectly rendered moments that make up lives "as quiet as these"--and as familiar as our own."
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