The crisp, clear, imagery with which Steinbeck evokes an era and the relevance of times that were harder than diamonds, comes forth again - read by a time machine/chameleon-impersonator, who had me wondering if someone hadn't brought Henry Fonda, or perhaps the real Tom Joad into our modern world.
Tom Joad, the narrator and protagonist of the tale, now a classic, has no competition for the Favorite Character award. One could argue, however, that Ma Joad, being the glue that held it all together, showed the most character development. My favorite moment and the cathartic pivotal point of the story, leading up to the denoument, was when Joad meets up with Preacher Casey after having found him and lost him again, outside the scab prison, in which he and his family didn't even know they were breaking a strike, and as his epiphany breaks over him like a tsunami, how the
Dylan Baker brings all kinds of characters to authentic life. From truck drivers, to scabs, to kids dancing for old time bands,. His work with the imagery that Steinbeck so miraculously paints almost leaves you thinking you can remember how the metaphorical turtle's Okie twang resounded through the shifting sands of the dustbowl.
The emotional level is riveting. One of Steinbeck's ingenious devices, was to tell the story through the eyes of a recently released prisoner, who had learned the self discipline of a zen master (no references to zen in the book) in order to survive the penitentiary. I doubt that anyone will ever try to remake the old film that Henry Fonda starred in. And yet this book is able to bring it more to life than any movie could ever, precisely because not one excellently turned phrase is omitted.
I fell in love with this Penguin recording, apparently made a few years ago, when I heard a chapter or two on satellite radio. It was what lead me to Audible dot com, and what resulted in my discovery of a fully emerged new art form in oral interpretation of literature (which is what we called the required course back in my theater department days at S.F. State). If, like me, you read this book a long time ago, I would wager a bottle of Wrath Wine (which has aged remarkably well) that you will be surprised how much of it you passed over too quickly. I do believe it shaped my political thinking more than any other influence in my teens.
The dialogue and interaction of the cross generational cast was very well done and even had me laughing out loud several times.
Very unique. I haven't read anything quite like it. Dimension shift.
The Squale's voice was amazing. The sound of telepathy. All characters were well portrayed and differentiated.
It scared the hell out of me at the end. No way I would quit and go to bed when the end was four hours away.
This will make a fine movie.
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