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Of Mice and Men Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1993
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Steinbeck refuses to allow himself to be pigeonholed. This is as completely different from Tortilla Flat and In Dubious Battle as they are from each other. Only in his complete understanding of the proletarian mentality does he sustain a connecting link - though this is assuredly not a "proletarian novel". It is oddly absorbing - this picture of the strange friendship between the strong man and the giant with the mind of a not-quite-bright child. Driven from job to job by the failure of the giant child to fit into the social pattern, they finally find - in a ranch - what they feel their chance to achieve a homely dream they have built. There's a simplicity, a directness, a poignancy in the story that gives it a singular power, difficult to define. Steinbeck is a genius - and an original. (Kirkus Reviews ) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata! (1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.
Top customer reviews
2) Characters (5 stars) - An excellent character study of an unusual friendship. George is the reluctant care-taker, outwardly critical of Lenny because he's too guarded to admit his affection. He wants to be tough and calculating in his plan for freedom, but his inward goodness can never let him betray his friend. Lenny is the doting follower, simple and warm and emotional. He is capable of great love and great hurt and it's fascinating not knowing which direction his simpleness will take him.
3) Theme (4 stars) - Obviously, the big theme here is friendship and how it's not what you say but what you do that makes you a friend. But there were other interesting minor themes, too. Like petty dominance plays, and how the quest for the top of a hierarchy, no matter how small and insignificant that hierarchy is in the grand scheme of the world, will cause men to do vicious things.
4) Voice (5 stars) - I can read Steinbeck for hundreds of pages and not get tired. He's wise, but not preachingly so. He's sardonic, but not depressingly so. He's plain-spoken, yet authoritative. But most of all he's insightful. Not a landmark, or historical event, or character goes by without a simple yet deep analysis; and the gems are so casually thrown about that you almost take them for granted.
5) Setting (4 stars) - The life of an itinerant worker on a California farm--the shared bunks, the sweaty manual labor, the horseshoe games, the alienation and loneliness and simple dreams--all were done well.
6) Overall (4 stars) - Sometimes you don't need hundreds of pages to deeply and profoundly examine human relations, if it's done crisply and deftly and poignantly, as Steinbeck does here. I definitely recommend this work.
an early morning sports talk show favored by my husband. On the show, one of the Mikes
interviewed a prominent baseball pitcher, an avid reader and fan of fine literature, who
spends off-season reading fine books. He had just finished "Of Mice and Men," and
recommended the work. His recommendation was seconded by the same Mike, who
described being so affected by his reading of the book years ago that he cried at the end,
and was still moved by thoughts of it that day. I was embarrassed to realize that I, an
English literature major in college, had never read a book that these sports guys were
discussing so sensitively on T.V, and determined to even that score. The book had been
checked out of the library, so I ordered it from Amazon.
I'd read several of Steinbeck's works previously, so I was familiar a bit with the soft touch, and the
caring-ness in his storytelling, so I enjoyed the book. I thought I was prepared for the
ending, but, in fact, the resolution chosen by the author was not one that my imagination
had suggested in advance. It more than moved me; it blew me away.