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The Winter of Our Discontent | [John Steinbeck]

The Winter of Our Discontent

In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American."
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Publisher's Summary

The final novel of one of America’s most beloved writers—a tale of degeneration, corruption, and spiritual crisis

In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American.”

Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of Steinbeck’s last novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With Ethan no longer a member of Long Island’s aristocratic class, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.

Set in Steinbeck’s contemporary 1960 America, the novel explores the tenuous line between private and public honesty, and today ranks alongside his most acclaimed works of penetrating insight into the American condition.

©1961, 1989 John Steinbeck (P)2012 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (149 )
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  •  
    Laura Saint Paul, MN, United States 07-25-12
    Laura Saint Paul, MN, United States 07-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love this story!"
    If you could sum up The Winter of Our Discontent in three words, what would they be?

    Amazing story teller.


    What other book might you compare The Winter of Our Discontent to and why?

    Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow Captivating story, sublime messages that aren't always caught the first or second time around. Intelligent!


    Have you listened to any of David Aaron Baker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first time to listen to Baker. He was wonderful.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to it four times so I could catch all the nuances

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Babak Potomac, MD, United States 04-24-13
    Babak Potomac, MD, United States 04-24-13 Member Since 2010

    Avid Reader

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    "Closer to today's problems than his other works"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I love all of Steinbeck's works, but this piece really touched me more than the others. It tells the story that we can really relate to today.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Winter of Our Discontent?

    The most memorable moment of the book is probably his reaction when he learns what Allen had really done for the contest.


    What does David Aaron Baker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His narration style is very good, very in tune with the character.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me think and lament.


    Any additional comments?

    A jewel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cee earth 03-20-13
    cee earth 03-20-13 Member Since 2012

    cee

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    "Steinbeck is filled with surprises"

    Steinbeck is filled with surprises with his story of Shakespeare-like evocation of a man struggling to hold onto his moral authority, in spite of the corrupting forces that surround him. Enjoyable from beginning to end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Charlotte, NC, United States 11-25-12
    Jason Charlotte, NC, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Fairly entertaining . . . a 5 or 6 out of 10"

    The Winter Of Our Discontent is a fairly interesting story, but it does not equal Steinbeck’s notable novels The Grapes Of Wrath or East Of Eden.
    The main character goes into lengthy introspective/analytical monologues quite often, and I found it difficult to focus on his musings. The story definitely had its positive moments, but it was a little slow for me. The overall plot was entertaining, but a little underwhelming.
    Steinbeck is a very good author, so his more mediocre books (like this one) are still pretty good compared to the average author. For what it is worth, this book won the Nobel Prize for Literature, so another reader/listener may fall in love with it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Ewing, NJ, United States 11-17-12
    Shawn Ewing, NJ, United States 11-17-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Do the Ends Justify the Means?"
    Where does The Winter of Our Discontent rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I love the book and really enjoyed listening to this audio versions.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is a classic snapshot of society. Though the story is 50 years old people still value position and money in society in the same manner.


    What about David Aaron Baker’s performance did you like?

    He did a great job with the voices.


    If you could rename The Winter of Our Discontent, what would you call it?

    Revenge for the Belle Adair


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 09-23-12
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 09-23-12 Member Since 2012

    AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!

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    "steinbeck rarely writes a bad book."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Winter of Our Discontent to be better than the print version?

    i remember reading it in highschool. i did not like it. so i guess the audio version is a lot better but i think maybe now that i am 60 i view things a BIT differently as i did as a teenager.


    What did you like best about this story?

    i liked the overall plot, the reader, the character development, and the main character, the grocery clerk--ethan and his dreams and immagination. i just liked everything.


    Which character – as performed by David Aaron Baker – was your favorite?

    mr. baker (not my fave person but i liked the way he was portrayed.


    If you could take any character from The Winter of Our Discontent out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    ethan, he had so many dreams and misadventures in his dreams. i think he is very likable.


    Any additional comments?

    steinbeck rules!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    thorben 06-20-14
    thorben 06-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    "not my thing"
    What would have made The Winter of Our Discontent better?

    Just not to my taste. Maybe it was a wrong place to start with Steinbeck, but his writing, in this particular book, didn't speak to me at all. It is a taste matter, other people might enjoy it, as many before them have.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Hudson, WI, United States 01-10-14
    Ryan Hudson, WI, United States 01-10-14

    I have an english degree from the University of Wisconsin River-Falls (UWRF). I read, write, and listen to stories daily.

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    "Classic Tragedy"

    Where would I be without Ethan Allen Hawley? Steinbeck creates a personality and David Aaron Baker gives it life. He's the most experienced, most wise, he finds out too late, his story describes the fall of a great household, and it ends in death. A paragon for modern tragedy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Mercer Island, WA, United States 09-11-12
    Catherine Mercer Island, WA, United States 09-11-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not the right interpretation?"

    I found the vocal characterization of David Baker to be distracting and unlikeable. I'm not sure how I would have heard the narative voice in my head had I been reading. It is a difficult character with vast swings from the silly to the philosophical. I understand why the narrator made the choices he did, but I felt that it ended up trivializing the wife and the marriage, among other shortcomings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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