My first time reading Wallace Stegner, and likely not my last. I read this book because it was recommended to me in Goodreads and forwarded by one of my favorite authors, Terry Tempest Williams. Both authors are from and write about the American West, although this book is mostly set on the upper East Coast.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads. It has great depth of character and weaves the shared histories of two married couples together with a powerfully understated tone. The author addresses this tone directly saying:
"Human lives seldom conform to the conventions of fiction.
Drama demands the reversal of expectation, but in such a way that the first surprise is followed by an immediate recognition of inevitability. And inevitability takes careful pin-setting. Since this story is about a friendship, drama expects friendship to be overturned...
Well, too bad for drama. Nothing of the sort is going to happen. Something less orthodoxly dramatic is. Nevertheless there is this snake, no bigger than a twig or a flame of movement in the grass. It is not an intruder in Eden, it was born here. It is one of Hawthorne’s bosom serpents, rarely noticed because in the bosom it inhabits it can so easily camouflage itself among a crowd of the warmest and most generous sentiments."
I could not put the book down, and it's left me thinking about my own relationships, with Scott, with my family and with my friends. Definitely recommended.