Shocking and controversial when it was first published, Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece.
Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires, and broken dreams, yet out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human, yet majestic in its scale and moral vision; an eloquent tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.
©1939 John Steinbeck (P)2010 Hachette Digital
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"As shocking now as it was then"
I came to this novel with some ideas of what to expect - I knew it was long, and I knew it was regarded as Steinbeck's most important work. Despite these preconceived ideas I was blown away.
The tale itself shouldn't be that effecting. It is fairly standard Steinbeck territory - people moving through their world, not rich, trying to make their way. They encounter a vast cast of others also making their way. But, the Joad family become more than just characters as you see their ups and downs.
Anyone in their right mind feels the anger and injustice at how the Joads are treated and the things they come to have to do to just subsist. Steinbeck highlights this through social consciousness musing through and about his characters. As in many things, he is almost prophetic.
In our current world, the plight of other migrant communities and the welcome they receive springs to mind. As it should. This isn't meant to be a nice read - the message is one of pity and rage. Worthwhile for the ideas as much as the story.
"I cried at the end. One of the best written!"
It must have been Steinbeck who coined the phrase "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"
If you read only one book in your life, read this one.
"Refugee crisis from an earlier era"
The audio version was certainly easy to listen to and fit into my schedule. I think I would struggle to keep going for such a long book in the print edition. It was very well read.
The moment when they realised how many other families had turned up for the same limited number of jobs was heart-breaking.
John Chancer managed to create a range of voices that were consistent so that the characters were recognisable from the voice he created.
Trump - good Americans have been refugees too.
I found it uncanny how the misfortune of this generation of American migrants is similar to the hardship faced by migrants today. Americans should read this story again to see that they too have suffered hardship in the past through no fault of their own.
"Farage needs to read this!!"
The most timelessly relevant book I have read in years. That it eschews a traditional structure only adds to its genius. And talk about female characters in Literature! Ma is a tour de force. Of Mice and Men means even more for the reading of it.
"How to dissolve a family"
Not really, the closets I would say Dostoyevsky does. Its just so mechanically perfect how society dissembles the family, making each individual lose hope and surrender
Very good, captures the individuals flawlessly and gives each his/her own style. Much like what I assume the book does as well
That would be inhuman. Both based on length and on how dark the story is
All aspects of the book are masterfully done. Each character has its own personality, each part of the journey sparks hope, and Steinbeck really paints a timeless picture. Cant count how many times something profound was written that felt current, like how the police make people leave their tents with out caring where they would go. Just that they were moving. How corporate greed is eating away at the planet while driving hard working people out with clever, yet immoral, business strategies Had done very little research before picking the book up. But as soon as I heard the name Tom Joad I couldn't help but to hear "Wherever somebody is struggling to be free / Look in their eyes ma / You'll see me"As history repeats itself, this book will remain forever current
"Immense - I have to admit I cried"
The same as each book I relate too - if the narrator manages to get the characters right it brings them to life and makes them relatable. I found the text quite dry when I read it at a young age however the Audible version truly made this book live.
I wouldn't even know where to start - I think like is the wrong word, this is just one long trial against adversity. I love how even under the worst of circumstances that there is still optimism and humility, however the things they had to endure were just horrific.
I think it would be easy to miss emotional nuances if you couldn't hear someone act them out. The words are there but its easy to miss emotions when its left for you to skim through a long text.
The ending broke me. Obviously this is no place for spoilers but it genuinely broke me. So many ways to view it also - reading other peoples interpretations of what it meant was really interesting.
Stick with it. Its a slow burner and sometimes the language is a little difficult to adjust too but if you actually think about it this book is shocking, truly shocking and a definite classic.
Brilliant and enlightening tale, expertly written and superbly narrated. A wonderfully vivid and moving tale of people of the land, forced into a nomadic existence by agricultural modernisation and capitalism. Nourishment for your soul.
"Perfect in every sense."
Yes, because John Chancer brings to life the dialect and characters.
Tom for his selflessness and courage.
Tom Joad and Jim Casy, the ex-preacher. John Chancer performed every character brilliantly; it was as if I were snooping on the lives of real people!
Absolutley, if I had the time!
I found the themes of pity and anger, cruelty and greed poignant. The world has not changed. The banks (money) still controls society and people still fear migrants. I was profoundly moved by the kindness most migrants had for each other.
"I'm sad that it's over"
I loved it. I started doing some research on that period and it got even more intresting. I would recommend it to anyone. A must read in my opinion.
The slow pace of delivery and highly descriptive language. makes the message even stronger. A great lesson in economics that starkly delivers the human cost.
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