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Giant (Perennial Classics) Paperback – August 22, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Perennial Classics
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060956704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060956707
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A powerful story...truly as big as its subject." -- --Los Angeles Times

"Her vocabulary is rich and vital; she sees material objects with a penetrating and delightful vision." -- --New York Tribune

"Miss Ferber at her best, and that's very good indeed." -- --St. Louis Globe-Democrat

From the Publisher

10 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I saw the movie.
Michaelene Gon
Great movie, one of my favorites, so had to read the book...haven't read it yet, but since I love the movie,just know the book will be twice as good.
sharon Gilbert
The story was beautiful and well told.
Steven Karlin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ngoc Nguyen on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have to admit that when I started out reading this book, it was terribly confusing. The first five chapters take place in the future, then the story backtracks to explain the events that took place before. After a while, though, it became apparent that this unconventional ordering only made the story even more enchanting.

Being a Texan myself, I found the setting and social customs described in the book very accurate. Leslie was a mesmerizing main character, possessing wisdom beyond her years that outshone all of the other characters' intelligence combined. Parts of the book weren't very characteristic of her--Leslie does eventually end up settling down a bit and loses a lot of her initial independence and do-good attitude that made her so attractive in the first place. Also, there are many aspects of the story that weren't very realistic at all--Jett Rink's obsessive, yet weakly explained, infatuation with Leslie, for example.

But overall, this is a wonderfully-written book with very memorable characters, is a realistic love story, and is a dazzling slice of Texas history that you likely won't be able to put down until you've reached the end.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Stefan Huber on August 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To be honest, I'm one of the guys, who watches a movie and reads the novel it is based on afterwards. In the case of "Giant" this turned out to be a terrible mistake. I was more than happy, when I finally reached the book's end. But the fact, that George Steven's screen adaptation is that big, should not take you away from reading this novel.

Ferber painstickingly tells the story of Texas, from its very beginnings to the oil boom. Altogether, the book spans about three decades,from the years after WW1 to the industrial boom of the 1950's, but several interludes give you an insight about the history of the state. I personally think, that you have to read this book to understand single details in the movie and get closer impressions about the characters. While watching the movie, one always wonders, why Uncle Bawley is so much different than the other Benedicts. The novel will answer you this one and many other questions.

In fact, one can only be surprised, how true the movie is to the novel. Although some scene settings have been changed to fit with the length of the movie, the film captures almost every single dialogue contained in the book. One can arguably say, that Ferber needs many pages to deal with a single problem (and she has already dealt with this one in other works like "Show Boat"), racism, but hey, it has taken a long time and it will take some time until this problem is finally solved.

The novel (and the film) do not always portray a sunny side of the Texian population of that period, but somehow the whole story got a landmark of the state and Dimtri Tiomkin's music for the movie is a kind of a Texian hymn. In my mind, this is one of the true highlights of 20TH century literature.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I loved the movie Giant, but was bowled over by the book. Ferber is a first-rate storyteller-- each character is appropriately developed and the language and phrasing are amazing. The landscape imagery is fantastic, but Ferber's genius is in describing--both visually and in the narrative--the delicate social structure that is the underpinning of the entire plot.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Aspen on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Having enjoyed the Elizabeth Taylor/James Dean/Rock Hudson film, I decided to read a wonderful old first edition of this novel and was thoroughly engrossed from cover to cover. Different in many ways from the motion picture but still a treat for its fans, the book is as much a glimpse into the evolution of 20th century Texas as it is a family soap opera. Strangely, it is even more of a love story between the Leslie & Jordan Benedict characters, who are its central characters.

Definitely a great, timeless read regardless of whether or not you've seen the film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jane Pensive on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edna Ferber explains Texans to us, and her words ring as true in 2010 as they did in 1952 when she published her book. Having seen the George Stevens' film of the book, I was expecting something even better. I wouldn't say the book is better than the film, but it is a bit different. Ferber's heroine, Leslie Lynnton, is a spirited Southern belle, with some Yankee roots, and an indulgent father, who fascinates Bick Benedict, owner of La Reata, a million acre plus cattle ranch. He meets her, sweeps her off her feet and takes her to this other-world, namely rural Texas. There the wealthy have all had fancy east coast educations (Bick played football for Harvard), but mostly maintain a deceptive, folksy outward presentation to show they are still Texas all the way through.

The novel takes place after WWI, at the beginning of the Depression and through to the 1950's. Coming from Virginia, a bilevel society should not have been shocking to Leslie, but she is gobsmacked by the way her husband and white Texans treat the Mexican-Americans who work for them and share the state. The book details her struggle to improve conditions for the Hispanic employees of the ranch, as well as her personal battle to assert herself in an atmosphere charged with testosterone. Texans think that their women come after their cattle and ranches.

Ferber's style is a little dated, and her vocabulary sent me to the dictionary a couple of times, but her ability to weave a good yarn is fine, and I was sucked right into the Benedict's world of privilege and squalor. This is a good summer read for the beach, as the story is long and sprawling. You'll be tan before you know it.
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