Crossing to Safety

by Wallace Stegner

cover of Crossing to Safety

Under the Influence: A Traveling Library of Books that Inspire Artists

Artist: Christopher K. Ho

b.1974, Hong Kong, China
Lives and works in New York, NY

Book Title: Crossing to Safety
Author: Wallace Stegner

The Fall after graduation, I wrote my high school English teacher for reading suggestions. Mr. Wilson recommended Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. He nailed it.

For the past twenty-six years, I have reread the first two countless times. Stegner’s semi-autobiographical novel, on friendship, affirms and guides in turn. The narrator, aged 64, reflects: “Amicitia lasts better than res publica, and at least as well as ars poetica. Or so it seems now. What really illuminates those months is the faces of our friends.”

It does, and they do.