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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"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.
"Absorbing story of the depression in the Mid West"
This is an epic tale of a family's move West to escape the dust bowl at the beginning of the 20th century.
The reader is superb, astonishing versatility.
Heart-warming and moving.
"A Fantastic Listen"
Always a classic that I had longed to read,and it doesn't disappoint. Having read mice and men I knew this would be good,but it's much better than expected. Steinbeck proves himself as much an intellectual as writer and delves deep into the American psyche with his character portrayals and the difficulties they face and, at times, overcome. Brilliantly read too,I can't recommend this enough.
"Moving, troubling, beautiful."
I opted for this to help me catch up on some of the classics and was not disappointed. I was totally drawn in, both to the historical coverage as well as to the characters, feeling I was journeying with them, geographically as well as emotionally. Loved it and will listen again in a few years.
"As relevant today as the day it was written"
Heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure, as the Joad's meet seemingly endless adversity with compassion courage and generosity. I often wondered how it would be possible for Steinbeck to create an conclusion to this tale. The final moments will haunt my thoughts for some time to come.
"Amazing story telling"
the narrator was brilliant, he has a great range of voices that were distinctly unique.
"So glad I've finally read this!"
Wow, this book was wonderful. There are so many layers to peel and themes and imagery to discuss - I felt like I wanted to write an essay on it all when I had finished. Didn't manage that though, but keep having to discuss things with my friend who also read it as I just can't get it out of my head! It's not what I would call uplifting, but it does get you thinking. The narrator is one of the best I have ever listened to and his character voices are superb.
"One of the great 20th century novels"
The Grapes of Wrath is one of the most famous, most highly regarded and most widely read American novel of the twentieth Century. Steinbeck's Nobel prize for literature is due in large part to it.
For once I agree with the publisher's hyperbole: "Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out of their struggle Steinbeck created a drama that is both intensely human and majestic in its scale and moral vision.". There is not much one can add to the heaps of justified praise the book has already received but I have a couple of comments which I hope will be helpful.
It is an overtly anti-capitalist book, describing the plight of starving itinerant unemployed during the great depression of the 1930s. If you are interested in this subject I would recommend How Green was my Valley, describing the life of Welsh miners, and No Mean City, describing life in the Glasgow tenements. Both are good novels and, like Grapes of Wrath, describe the unjust treatment of the undertrodden and the rugged honesty with which they do their best to cope.
I put off reading Grapes of Wrath for many years because I knew it was about injustice and misery and it didn't sound very enjoyable. Also when lots of people tell me a book is brilliant it often fails to live up to my expectations. This one surpassed them. I was really gripped by the realistic, accurate portrayal of humanity.
It is actually a novel punctuated every 2-3 chapters with a vignette or essay about the causes and consequences of the depression. I hesitate to say anything against such an important book but I found some of the intermittent essays little more than a rant. They appeared to analyse the causes but offered little insight. My feeling was that the author had a deep insight into the people but little understanding of economics.
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