Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck's most widely read and beloved novels. From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl's examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of realism, that were imbued with energy and resilience.
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When the enemy forces take over a small town in an unnamed country, the occupation happens so quickly that the locals are too shocked at first to react. The town is of great importance to the enemy, both for it's coal mine and it's coastal location. Colonel Lanser, the head of the invading army decides to establish his headquarters in the house of popular Mayor Orden, in hopes the inhabitants will believe the mayor is collaborating with them and decide to follow his example. But as the occupiers impose their harsh rules, first forcing the workers to continue mining coal for them, then executing a man following a mock trial, the inhabitants begin to form a resistance. This short novel was reportedly written as a piece of propaganda during WWII to encourage members of the resistance all over Europe and give them a guide of sorts on how to organize themselves. It was illegally published in Nazi-occupied France by a French Resistance publishing house, and then translated into several other languages and widely read. Several readers have stated that Steinbeck distanced himself from his usual approach with this novel because of the obvious pro-resistance stance and the didactic approach he adopted, but I disagree with this point of view. When compared with the kind of propaganda used by the Nazis during the war, which told the audience what to think (and later influenced advertising as we know it), Steinbeck's was a very subtle approach. He created complex characters, at least on the side of the occupiers; Colonel Lanser has fought in the first war and doesn't believe in what he is doing, his subordinates think of their families and hobbies, miss their homes and wish to be liked by the locals; one nearly losing his mind because of the difficulty of their situation. Steinbeck doesn't go out of his way to make a case for the occupiers either, but then, rare is the fiction writer who has come in defence of war and tyranny. His storytelling skills are evident here, with the attention to detail which characterizes his work and makes it seem so real and honest. Had the author taken a more hard-hitting approach, this piece of fiction would not have retained literary merit seven decades later, nor would it be likely that I'd have enjoyed reading it as much as I did. Recommended.more
I'm taking my time with this collection and savoring every word. The feel of the collection is wonderful in your hands, and each story is as good as the last. I will try to review as I go.Tortilla Flat is a wonderfully hilarious, saddening, and well written novel. You grow to love each character despite himself. It's amusing to look into the minds of some who are so obviously selfish and completely unaware of themselves, and how they turn their selfishness into what they see as good friendship. In the end though, you can see that they all really love each other and grow as people, and for this reason the end is a bit heartbreaking.The Red Pony will be a tough read for any animal lover, or anyone who doesn't like descriptive scenes of... gore, I suppose, is the right word for it. Nothing that doesn't fit or was thrown in for shock effect, but still a difficult pill to swallow. I feel as though this was an unfinished work, but I don't know for sure. Something about the ending doesn't feel just right. But I do like that Steinbeck hints that the last few years have really led Jody to become closer to manhood. Of Mice & Men is of course a classic. Even if someone doesn't know John Steinbeck from Steven King they will know something about Mice & Men. I first read this in high school and while I remembered I liked it and the jist of the storyline, I had forgotten a lot of it. My mind is no steel trap, especially when it comes to books unfortunately. Re-reading it was just as incredible, if not more so, the second time around. I think this should be recommended reading for everyone in high school, as it is such a raw look at the ups and downs of humanity and existence. The whole cast of characters is so alive and varying and, I know I use this word a lot, realistic. And even the worst people have a shred of humanity in them, of hurt or pain or longing. It's a wonderful, heartbreaking, incredible story for all ages and should be read and re-read.The Moon is Down:Cannery Row:The Pearl:more
Steinbeck was probably the greatest writer of the 20th Century, in my opinion. "Of Mice & Men" and "The Pearl" are two of my all-time favorites.more
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