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Crossings, a novel



Betty's only published novel, Crossings recounts the brutal relationship between a young woman, Vicky Ferris, and an ex-con, Mik O'Brien. Having left her too considerate husband, she hopes to find love with "a man's man". Their physical, often violent affair offers an honest and unflinching look at relationships and female suffering. Set in Vancouver in the early 1960s, it is an emotional, maternal, physical and often terrifying journey of a woman trying to define herself. Perhaps because female failings are prominently displayed in the novel, to which Betty readily admitted having first-hand experience, some feminist bookstores banned it from their shelves while others touted Crossings as a testament to the women's movement.


"This portrait of an artist as a young woman should stand beside Alice Munro's Who Do You Think You Are? and Margaret Laurence's The Diviners as a testimony of the courage and cost of being a woman and a writer. It is an hilarious, reprehensible, moving book, brilliantly written."
     -Jane Rule, Canadian novelist

"The skilful clarity of the writing convincingly evokes the protagonist’s passion and restlessness."
     -Alan Twigg, Vancouver Literary Storefront Newsletter

"Crossings is a startling and perceptive character study of both Mik and Vicky. Beyond their relationship, there are fine, analytical passages tearing into the relationships between mother-daughter, mother-sister, sister-sister. At the root of them is Vicky's fear of success, and her growth is in learning to help herself abandon cultural cowardices disguised as femininity. Fabulous stuff."
     -Jane Fanlayson, Ottawa Citizen

"Crossings is Betty Lambert's first novel, and it would be impossible to shout all its strengths here. Lambert, a highly successful Canadian writer of plays for children, has simply written the grittiest, truest novel this or any country has seen in years."
     -Walt Kellythorne, Victoria Times

"Lambert's writing has sensitivity and depth as it subtly probes the male/female psyche. In her expose of this most personal of relationships she displays insight and compassion."
     -Shirley Troy, The Lethbridge Herald

"Lambert has searched deep into a woman's soul to discover why and how we love the men we do. There are few of us who won't relate to her struggle with passion over reason. One of Lambert's many strengths in this novel is her open and honest handling of Vicky's sexual relationship with her husband and with Mik. These scenes are as compelling, relevant and as funny as any I have read in a long time."
     -Johanne Leach, The Courier

"I've read few novels this year with characters as particularized and whole, perceptions as amusing and alive. It takes the basic Canadian-fiction starter kit and assembles it with a lightning wit and energy that make the results wholly agreeable...Crossings is a superbly realized novel."
     -Douglas Hill

"Betty Lambert's Crossings may be the most unexpected artistic success of the year. Unaffectedly original, Crossings is written in an unusual, shifting non-pattern of single lines and irregular prose, eschewing paragraphing and symmetrical structure."
     -Doug Watling, Our Books Atlantic








Lambert, Betty. (1979). Crossings. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.


Betty Lambert Homepage Biography of Betty Betty's Writings Photographs of Betty Betty Lambert Memorial Prize Share a Story Website Links Website Sitemap