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The Pearl Audiobook

The Pearl

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Audible Editor Reviews

Of John Steinbeck's many classic novels, only one is beloved by ninth graders everywhere. Finally in a definitive audiobook edition, The Pearl as read by Hector Elizondo is a long overdue treat for listeners of all ages. Whether you skipped this required reading in high school or simply don't remember much about it, now is the time to revisit Steinbeck's excellent little vision of an ancient Mexican folk tale about the perils of obsessive greed. A story of great symbolism and unflinching morality, the lessons here are no less true in our contemporary circumstances than they were hundreds of years ago.

Hector Elizondo is a perfect fit for this narration. Winner of an Emmy and an Obie, veteran of both screen and stage, Elizondo is no stranger to the gravitas of parables. Although he has contributed voice work to a dozen audiobook dramas with ensemble casts, this is the first time he has narrated a book completely on his own. What a treat to hear his familiar grizzled voice painting the scene of a tiny, impoverished town in need of a miracle. When a scorpion bites a young family man's infant son, the man becomes desperate for money to pay the doctor that can save the child's life.

Upon finding an enormous pearl deep in the water and just in the nick of time, the family begins to dream of their son's bright future. Elizondo puts his grit and gravel to good use conveying the tenacity with which the family clings to the idea of sending their son to school, thus escaping their meager life of poverty. But the enchanting music of the pearl speaks to the whole town, and soon all are clamoring for a piece of the family's good fortune. Hector Elizondo impeccably renders John Steinbeck's haunting admonition against avarice, and this short novel is a must-have for any audio library. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

In this short book illuminated by a deep understanding and love of humanity, John Steinbeck retells an old Mexican folk tale: the story of the great pearl, how it was found, and how it was lost. For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of a better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to the tragedy.

For Steinbeck, Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems. Originally published in 1947, The Pearl shows why Steinbeck’s style has made him one of the most beloved American writers: it is a simple story of simple people, recounted with the warmth and sincerity and unrivaled craftsmanship Steinbeck brings to his writing. It is tragedy in the great tradition, beautifully conveying not despair but hope for mankind.

©1945, 1973 Elaine Steinbeck, John Steinbeck IV, Thom Steinbeck (P)2011 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (587 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Holly Anne Bottas Black 05-13-17 Member Since 2016

    Blessings, Holly

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    4
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    "Awesome Narration "

    Although I've read this many times, it was made fresh again with excellent narration. Thank you for bringing this to Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    samuel 02-16-17
    samuel 02-16-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    15
    5
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    0
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    "What desires does it bring to good and evil alike "

    To sad a story of what riches bring to simple people
    and who think they have nothing
    have everything to lose

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MScott 02-03-17
    MScott 02-03-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Timeless Classic"

    From the time the work was published in 1947 until the present, this work never ceases to provide insight into the nature of greed, of jealousy, and of humankind's misplaced priority of the worship of anything that has monetary value. It still amazes me, after so many readings, how moved I am at the story's end, and yet, how mercurial the story's theme is taken. If only we could truly learn and change as a result of understanding Steinbeck's insights. . .what a better world this would be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Honey 08-08-16
    Honey 08-08-16
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    "I loved it"

    the narrator was calm and his voice changed with the words in the book 10/10

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua 07-30-16
    Joshua 07-30-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Compelling story that everyone should read."

    I believe everyone should read/listen to this short, but great, novella. I believe there's several subtle meanings to this novella that pushes some topics to discuss.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Felix O. Sena 06-06-16
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    "Definitely Recommend!"

    The story is beautiful and the ending is tragic. But, the voice actor made a few mistakes in pronounciation. Other than that, I would recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 05-11-16
    Rachel 05-11-16
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    5
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    "Outstanding story, The Pearl, by John Steinbeck."

    Loved the story. Narrated by Hector Elizondo, with excellent inflection depicting it language.was rivited. Highly_Recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    32Cmommy2B 04-26-16
    32Cmommy2B 04-26-16 Member Since 2016
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    10
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    "Well written, well narrated"

    Well written, well narrated. I'm about to listen to it again. However, the ending will leave a pit in your stomach.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    naielah 12-26-15
    naielah 12-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    "Better than Gatsby"

    I've always felt this story was better than The Great Gatsby. You get just about the same amount of hope and tragedy if not more in shorter Chapters. This was my first time hearing it in audio, and the way the Narrator performed it made me love it greater than I had before. Thank You.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Franzen 12-25-15
    N. Franzen 12-25-15

    English teacher. I like to read.

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    7
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    "Great Narration, but..."
    What made the experience of listening to The Pearl the most enjoyable?

    I love this story and teach it. I use this in my classroom. The students enjoy it, too.


    Which character – as performed by Hector Elizondo – was your favorite?

    Elizondo is great for this, but there are multiple instances where he skips words or a line of narration. Not a big deal, but certainly noticeable -- especially since I've read it almost a dozen times, and there's a classroom full of kids who notice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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