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Publisher's Summary

In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck's vision comes wonderfully to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California's back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future. This edition features an introduction by Gary Scharnhorst.
©1947 John Steinbeck (P)2015 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

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By Kelly on 05-08-17

Steinbeck always touches the heart, makes you feel

I am at a complete loss trying to explain John Steinbeck to people; trying to explain why exactly I LOVE him so much! His books are astoundingly beautiful pieces of work written with a quiet simplicity that confuses me. I do know one reason -- and maybe that is the whole of it -- that I love his books. He writes about people who are real, and he writes about them with so much detail and reverence. He gives you the hardest aspects of life, settings that are quiet, storylines that are slow and rich, and people who you know. He tells their stories, which are OUR stories. He loves people and allows them to be angry, to grieve, to love. He allows them to be flawed, and to delve into the things that make them unlikable at times. John Steinbeck takes the worst in people and makes you love them for it. So what is it that he does better than almost anyone else? He makes you feel all the feels.

I saw another reviewer say that he had a "heart-seeking missile" and that phrase blew me away because I feel exactly the same.

This book a bit different than some of his better known works, and yet it is also the same. It doesn't really have much of a beginning or an ending. It is a story of the journey, and not the journey on the bus, but the journey of life.

One other thought I have: Often the books that best tell the tale of the journey of life with all its messiness are sweeping, epic tales, which follow the characters throughout life and sometimes follow generations of characters throughout their lives. But Steinbeck accomplishes the same in stories that often occur in tiny moments of time. This book occurs in a day.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By omar on 09-04-16

Beautifully written

A past era brought to life, narrated excellently... Loved it and I will recommend it.

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By uhhuhlex on 02-04-16

A novel with lots of tension and a varied cast

Initially I wasn't as keen on this as I have been other Steinbeck works. However, it was a slow burner. When I took the time to think about it, I really liked how the narrative point of view shifted. While most of the characters aren't necessarily 'likeable', they are at least relate-able.

What I liked most about this novel was how it shows how humans use themselves to play against and off one-another. This is most obvious in the relations between the sexes here - a great tension underlies the whole novel - but also between different types of men and women. It does take a while to get underway, but by the time you reach the scene of the finale, some of the facades fall away and it is at times disturbing how cruel people are to each other, and how near to breaking we all are.

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