Wallace Stegner’s is a great, perhaps brilliant writer, but his work is marred by a distracting and unfortunate misogyny. This is certainly the case with Crossing to Safety. Essentially the story of how an overbearing wife destroys a weak willed husband, it has much the same theme as the only other Stegner book I have read, The Angle of Repose.
This is a big and off-putting problem. Stegner depicts woman as either too strong, or too weak, almost as if the female of the species has no real part in our world but to help or hinder men. This is a bit of a simplification of how Stegner depicts the women characters in Crossing to Safety, but not by much. It is a shame that this otherwise brilliant writer and story teller has this flaw at the core of his creative heart.