7.01.2010

Review: The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It's rare for me to have that opinion when I've only read the book once...so I re-read it, just to make sure my claim wasn't unfounded. I first read it in 2001 as part of my summer reading.

When I picked up the text nine years later, I felt as if I had never put it down. The same moments stuck with me and, since my emotional maturity has evolved over the last nine years, they stuck hard.

I still hold that chapter three of this novel (which, for those of you who don't know it, details a land turtle's journey across the road) is the most brilliant, poignant, graphic, and wonderful naturalistic passage in all of twentieth-century literature. In less than two pages, it offers a shining parabolic metaphor for the entirety of the novel.

The other bit that sticks with me the strongest is the very end. I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't read it, but the end makes me cry. Not a sad cry, not even a happy cry. But a cathartic empathetic cry. So much is unresolved at the end, and yet in that final moment, there is completion. Steinbeck's secret, laced in the text, is finally brought to fruition.  

"The old humorous eyes looked ahead, and the horny beak opened a little. His yellow toe nails slipped a fraction in the dust."

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing! I'll add it to the must-read list I'm compiling in my Kindle. It'll probably live next to the Brothers Karamazov and Ulysses for a looong time. But it sounds worth a shot!

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Any and all feedback is welcome - thanks for taking the time!