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Down to a Soundless Sea: Stories
Down to a Soundless Sea: Stories
Down to a Soundless Sea: Stories
Audiobook9 hours

Down to a Soundless Sea: Stories

Written by Thomas Steinbeck

Narrated by Jeff Harding

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

Here is a fiction debut that is cause for celebration. Growing up in a family that valued the art of storytelling and the power of oral history, Thomas Steinbeck now follows in his father's footsteps with a brilliant story collection.

Down to a Soundless Sea resonates with the rich history and culture of California, recalling vivid details of life in Monterey County from the turn of the century through the 1930s. Steinbeck accomplishes an amazing feat: His stories have the feel of classic literature, but his haunting voice, forceful narrative drive, and dazzling imagery are unmistakably his own.

In seven stories, Steinbeck traces the fates and dreams of an eccentric cast of characters, from sailors and ranchers to doctors and immigrants-as each struggles to carve out a living in the often inhospitable environment of rocky cliffs, crashing surf, and rough patches of land along the California coast.

Release dateMay 20, 2010
Down to a Soundless Sea: Stories

Thomas Steinbeck

Thomas Steinbeck began his career in the 1960s as a combat photographer in Vietnam. Known best for his short stories, his collection Down to the Soundless Sea won critical praise. Along with his writing and producing obligations, Steinbeck is in demand as a public speaker where he lectures on American literature, creative writing, and the communication arts. He lives in California with his wife Gail.

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Reviews for Down to a Soundless Sea

Rating: 3.1153846153846154 out of 5 stars

26 ratings2 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors. So the surname on this book caught my eye at a used-book sale, as did the title of the book (and, frankly, the cover art). Not having known that the Steinbeck clan included any other authors, I took a chance on it. And boy am I glad I did. This book ought to be better-known among fans of John Steinbeck's work as I think his son writes equally well. It's an amazing book of short stories (some longer than others) that I'd highly recommend to anyone. If this book is indicative of his writing, I am going to have to make sure to get more of Thomas Steinbeck's books.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I first happened upon this book about 10 years ago when I visited the Steinbeck Center in Salinas. It was newly published at the time. The Steinbeck Center celebrates the life work of Thomas's father John. We have visited there several times. What struck me as most unusual was that this was the first published work of John's eldest son Thomas. The author's note that introduces the book intrigued me, as of course did the family heritage. How could I not read this? When I first got the book I think I only read a couple of the stories. Now, finally, I have read (and re-read) all of them.Roughly, Thomas set out to record stories that had been told on the central coast of California, principally around Big Sur and Monterey. I can see now that this was a prelude to his novel [In The Shadow of the Cypress] that I read last year. These short, medium and novella length stories are all interesting stories. They are like family legends and tall tales of people that were passed down and Thomas built them out into stories on paper. They read as if a storyteller was telling them to you. After many decades, or in the case of the first story, 140 years or so, variations in the tales, embellishments and such would be natural. Everyone who told the same story would tell a different version. In Thomas's words: "... I have invariably shown a shameless propensity for the most entertaining and morally illustrative narratives. But I also respect the underlying accuracy of detailed facts, and for those I have gratefully depended upon the dedicated research of qualified regional historians." Steinbeck comes from a family of storytellers with a tradition that he now continues.So the downside here is that some of these stories didn't really spring fully from Thomas's imagination. The upside is that he took family and other stories and told them pretty well. They are very well written, full of imagery and really take you back to a place and time that has gone. The story of the young "wool gatherer" John Steinbeck on the Sur coast in 1920 was quite entertaining, as was the tale of Doc Roberts and his adventures in doctoring the inhabitants scattered across Big Sur in "An Unbecoming Grace." I also really enjoyed the longer story "Blind Luck" about a shanghaied young man, Chapel Lodge, who finds where he really belongs in life. I thought it might be my favorite story in this book of very good stories. That's it though - these are all very good stories. I decided, though, that the excellent novella, "Sing Fat and the Imperial Duchess of Woo" was my favorite in this collection. I enjoyed all of them, although somewhat strangely I thought the very first story was the weakest of the lot.The seven stories here are: The Night Guide, The Wool Gatherer, Blind Luck, An Unbecoming Grace, The Dark Watcher, Blighted Cargo, and Sing Fat and the Imperial Duchess of Woo.Recommended