This is either a short story or a novella - I've seen it referred to both - around 94 pages (my copy). I read it in two sittings.
The book is about a poor fisherman who finds a giant pearl and the aftermath. I thought I knew what would happen but I didn't. Superb writing and a great story with much in the way of poignancy, well worth reading.
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck was a perfect antidote to the heaviness and heavy lifting of Faulkner and the mean spirited jaundice of John Fante. This is a sweet, clever, fun and funny book which looks for the oft hidden nobility in people, while gently poking fun at the inherent absurdities of life.
The storyline is a continuation of Cannery Row. Doc is back from the war but feeling an unaccustomed emptiness, which the other denizens of Cannery Row try to help him fill. He tries to remedy it with scientific study, but it turns out what he really needs is a girl.
This is actually a very literate and philosophical romantic comedy, though there is never any real doubt as to the outcome. I love the characters and Steinbeck's writing and couldn't care less that the plot is ridiculous. In these Monterey novels Steinbeck just makes me feel better about life and my fellow man.
Tempting to say only 3.5 stars because the bar was so low, but dangit, I loved the experience of reading this book and I'm giving it 4stars.
By My Friend Jack
Thanks to a recommendation from someone on the Reading FC site, I read this book a few weeks ago. Most enjoyable, although not the sort of thing I would usually try. I mentioned it to a colleague recently, who said that one of Steinbeck's books (I can't remember which ) was her all-time favourite.
Anyway, this is certainly a refreshing change from my usual diet of sci-fi, fantasy and biogs!
megustaleer 23rd March 2006 08:30 AM
No thread so far on this book? Amazing!
I understand that it has ben ruined for many a reader by being disemboweled in class as a 'set book'. I was fortunate to encounter it for the first time when already well into middle age, so could just enjoy it for the very moving, beautifully written story that it is.
A brief synopsis for anyone who has still to experience the pleasure of discovering this book!
George and Lennie are two itinerant ranch hands, moving on because Lennie - retarded and not knowing his own strength - has 'done something bad'. George has responsibility for Lennie and they plan to save up enough money to buy a little place together, but, as the saying goes "the best laid plans...", and this time Lennie does something really bad, and George can see only one way to get him out of it...
Claire 23rd March 2006 09:18 AM
I was lucky with this one as well, I didn't read it until about a year ago, so I escaped doing it at school.
It was breathtaking and utterly shattering. I finished at about half past seven on a school morning, having woken up really early that morning, and I had to send my kids to go and play in their bedroom for a bit while Mummy got herself together enough to be able to produce clean clothes and breakfast. They were rather puzzled by the whole thing and couldn't quite work out what was wrong with me!
I'd love to reread it, but I had it on loan, and had to give it back.
Grammath 23rd March 2006 01:26 PM
Steinbeck was, naturally, a major figure in the literature element of my American Studies degree. I read this about fifteen years ago but it has stayed with me, impressive for a book short enough that I probably dashed thorugh it in an afternoon.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, my younger brother is autistic so the relationship between George and Lennie had special resonance for me.
There was also a fine film adaptation a few years back with Gary Sinise as George and John Malkovich as Lennie but it wouldn't take much longer to read the book than watch the film.
megustaleer 23rd March 2006 02:02 PM
Matthew Kelly has played Lennie on stage, with George Costigan as George. I would have loved to have seen that.
minxminnie 23rd March 2006 05:21 PM
I teach this book every year, but far from disembowelling it, we share the book - one of the best moments in teaching English is reading the last chapter of "OMAM" with a class who don't yet know how it ends.
Flingo 24th March 2006 11:36 AM