Wednesday, May 29, 2013

From the Pen of Wallace Stegner

At the suggestion of the one and only Tucker McCann, I am working my way through Wallace Stegner’s last novel, Crossing to Safety .  And, as happened the last time I picked up a Stegnerian opus, I am loving the pants off his writing style. Here are a handful of highlights from the first hundred pages or so. All emphasis is mine—they’re just the lines and phrases that really buttered my toast:
“Cataract sufferers must see like this when the bandages are removed after the operation: every detail as sharp as if seen for the first time, yet familiar, too, known from before the time of blindness, the remembered and the seen coalescing as in a stereoscope.”
“Dew has soaked everything. I could wash my hands in the ferns, and when I pick a leaf off a maple branch I get a shower on my head and shoulders.”
“I am sitting with my back to the window. On the bed table is a tumbler of water that I set there for Sally last night. The sun, coming in flat, knocks a prismatic oval out of the tumbler and lays it on the ceiling.”
“The wind moves the silver maple over our heads, and some leaves rustle down. Offshore a boat comes about with wooden knockings, watery slappings, a pop of canvas.”
“Our last impression of her as she turned the corner was that smile, flung backward like a handful of flowers.”
“Between the taking of a cinnamon toast and tea she let drop bits of information that my mind scurried to gather up and plaster against the wall for future use, like a Bengali woman gathering wet cow dung for fuel.”
“Vigorous, vital, temperate, and hence not hung over, they flush us out of our culvert of duty.”
“The view is spreading, bronzed, conventionalized like a Grant Wood landscape. The air smells of cured grass, cured leaves, distance, the other sides of hills.”

—"Near Sundown", by Grant Wood 

No comments:

Post a Comment