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The Pastures of Heaven (Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – April 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140187480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140187489
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

John Steinbeck knew and understood America and Americans better than any other writer of the twentieth century. (The Dallas Morning News) A man whose work was equal to the vast social themes that drove him. (Don DeLillo)"

About the Author

JOHN STEINBECK (1902–1968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Nearly all of his books are available in Penguin Classics.

More About the Author

John Steinbeck (1902-1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

Customer Reviews

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The story grew in richness and complexity this way and has left me fully satisfied.
Brooklyn
More a book of short stories than a real novel, The Pastures of Heaven is one of my favorite of Johnny Steinbeck's.
Jack Aron
Steinbeck is very successful in making the reader experience the feelings of the characters.
Jessi Yates

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Hypoxy on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
My mother, not a reader herself but trusting that anything sold by the Baptists & titled "The Pastures of Heaven" had to be OK, bought this book from a clearance table at the Baptist Book Store in Dallas TX as a Christmas present for (then) 8-year-old me.

I devoured it at 8 and--except for "Travels With Charley"--still love it more than anything else Steinbeck wrote. The crystal-clear (to a grownup) allusions to prostitution & incest sailed right over my innocent head, but the funny or tragic--usually both--stories of the wildly disparate kinds of people who settled in the Salinas Valley (can anyone flesh out fictional characters as Steinbeck can, and with so few adjectives?), and the image of how that beautiful green valley must have looked to the pioneers after their ordeal of mountains & desert, have stayed with me for almost 60 years.

I'm now going to order a copy to replace the barely-hanging-together one inscribed "From Mom & Dad, Christmas 1944". (Yellowed "Clearance $.25" sticker still on the back.)
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
You needn't be familiar with Steinbeck's work to enjoy Pastures of Heaven. Indeed, he wasn't a well-known writer at the time of its publication. But you DO need to be familiar with the way books used to be read -- over and over and over, allowing the richness of a work to be revealed after multiple readings. So it is with Pastures of Heaven.

Certainly, a single reading of this work is rewarding and each story alone could serve as a great introduction to Steinbeck's style and grace. But these stories are interrelated in ways that appear only on the second and third and fourth readings. And...the book should probably be read slowly. (Hint: pay VERY close attention to the first story!)

Like other readers, I, too, was disappointed/puzzled after the first reading, but then I found certain images from the book would appear to me weeks and months later. I found the book again in my bags as I traveled cross-country and re-read it slowly, taking two nights to read each story. As I drove the next day, I'd let my mind wander over the textual terrain it had encountered the night before. The story grew in richness and complexity this way and has left me fully satisfied. It remains within close reach on my shelf.

While the book as written is a treasure -- one often neglected in discussions of Steinbeck's portfolio -- I have to say that time is changing its nature. As the book nears its 75th birthday, it gets only more true; the universality every good story has is here exemplified and magnified. Centuries from now, this book may be seen not so much as a portrait of its time, but rather a timeless tale, merely set conveniently in a place and era Steinbeck knew well; in this sense, the work reminds me of Shakespeare's work.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
For me, reading Steinbeck is a hit-and-miss endeavor. So "The Pastures of Heaven," undeservedly one of Steinbeck's least-known works, is a pleasant and affecting surprise--a volume of interlinking stories (simply called "chapters") whose mature style and semi-mystical themes remind me, oddly enough, of Garcia Marquez. This collection is not your typical Steinbeck, but it's memorable and astonishingly elegant nonetheless.
Although every story in the book has something to recommend it (I can't imagine any reader not liking at least several of them), I especially enjoyed one, labeled Chapter VI. (The story must have had particular resonance for Steinbeck as well, since he later published it separately in a private edition entitled "Nothing So Monstrous" and added an epilogue.) About a widower who faces the community's disapproval of the unorthodox way he raises his son, this edisode will haunt me for some time. The price of the book is worth this "chapter" alone.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Jolly on September 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
After reading the Grapes of Wrath recently, I became an instant fan of John Steinbeck. So much that while at the used bookstore last week I bought several more of his novels. It would be strange to call his writing a breath of fresh air since he's hardly current but that's the best way that I can describe it. After reading his work you feel like you truly know his fictional characters. You also feel like you've been exploring a wonderful new region. And if you've actually been to the region he's writing about, the memories and thoughts that are rekindled are so amazingly vivid. Could anything be better. Its like a breath of fresh air! This book was a great collection of short stories that focused certain events in the lives of the residents of the Pastures of Heaven. Each short story focused on only one resident or family but main characters from each of the other short stories would show up in supporting roles. It was an interesting structure that I'd never seen before and I loved it. As usual Steinbeck focused on painting a picture of a region and he did a great job of it here. I've actually been to the Pastures of Heaven at Salinas and I'm sure that I've stood in the very same spot in the hills between Carmel and Salinas where John Steinbeck described the awesome view of the valley. I remember looking over the valley with the same awe when I was there. This isn't a gripping and moving tale like Grapes or Wrath. It's much lighter. But its such a fine piece of writing that I'd recommend it to anyone.
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