The Winter of our Discontent

  • by John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by Jeff Harding
  • 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ethan Hawley has lost the spirit of his wealthy forebears, a long line of proud New England sea captains and Pilgrims. Scarred by failure, Ethan works as a grocery clerk in a store his family once owned. But his wife is restless and his teenage children hungry for the material comforts he cannot provide. Then a series of unusual events reignites Ethan's ambition, and he is pitched on to a bold course, where all scruples are put aside.

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What the Critics Say

"John Steinbeck's last great novel focuses on the theme of success and what motivates men towards it"
"Returns to the high standards of The Grapes of Wrath and to the social themes that made his early work... so powerful" (Saul Bellow)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

No Son of York

This has been one of my favourite Steinbeck's for a long time, and that is saying something because I love "Of Mice and Men". Alas, this production didn't make me feel good about it and I have come away wondering whether the faith I put in this return to the top tier was well placed. Overall, I think I am more enamored with the story than I was disappointed with the production, so, to borrow from the Bard, "All's Well that End's Well".
Unfortunately this did not start well and I regret to say that it is because Mr Harding's take on Ethan Hawley just didn't gel with my picture of him. He was too slick, more Sienfeld than cynical; more petty than purist. This meant that when it came time to move away from the path of righteousness, the movement was too easy and the rationalisation too trite to make the impact that I think ought to be wrought from a Walter Mitty character that resists his awakening to a cold reality. Put another way, we started in autumn, not summer and the seasons were not different enough.
For all that, I have liked Jeff Harding's readings before (notably, "Matterhorn"), so I guess it is more my personal minds eye that rejects this production's reality, so perhaps don't judge this book by it's reviewer and judge for yourself. It is, as a story, one of Steinbek's very best in my opinion. It has a wit the earlier novels do not have, a modern outlook that is easier for us to relate to than say the depression years, but the same level of moral exactness that I love, where his hero is just a person, neither perfect no evil, but just doing their best. It would be a pity to miss out on that because I was wrong about the way I heard it in my head. For that I have given it three stars, but if I was as honest as Etan ultimately might be, then this is a two.
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- Ian C Robertson "Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-03-2014
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audio