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The Wayward Bus

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,787 Ratings  ·  342 Reviews
Sustained brilliance, complete credibility and vividness . . . striking, dramatic! -- "Saturday Review"
The bus travels the California backroads. Its passengers are the lost and lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious. As they ride, their dreams and desires clash, their secret selves are revealed, and they become the face
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Penguin Classics (first published 1947)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 11, 2016 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
steinbeck pulverizes me. i'm not the type to get choked up by calling-card commercials or whose heart swells with the violins at the end of a sappy movie, but steinbeck has a heart-seeking missile aimed directly at me, and he knows just how to find my emotional center. this has always been my favorite of steinbeck's works, even though it is a shortish one in which very little actually happens. but steinbeck's strength, for me, has always been his characters, and this is one prolonged character s ...more
mark monday
i saw Dusty reading this and asked him what it was all about. he said it was hard to say, it was about life and people and what a countertop looks like and what a place feels like and how people think or not-think. at least i imagine that's what he said, its been a month or so. he also said that Steinbeck was his favorite author. he finished reading the book and then gave it to me. i would say that Dusty is my friend, sure, why not.

The Wayward Bus is about a bunch of people in post-WW 2 america.
Joe Valdez
Mar 09, 2016 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
The Wayward Bus was John Steinbeck's follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize winner The Grapes of Wrath. It most certainly suffered for it. Published in 1947, readers had waited eight years for a new novel from Steinbeck, who set the Joads on the road to California in 1939 and wouldn't publish his next novel until 1952, when he dispatched Adam Trask west to meet his destiny in East of Eden. Readers seem to have let The Wayward Bus fall into a crease on the map between the two novels, but I was absolutel ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: u-s-lit
My favorite present was when I was 15 or 16. A Christmas. There were clothes and things. But my brother wrapped two paperback books for me: The Catcher in the Rye and The Grapes of Wrath. Two days later I was an addict.

I was also a completist. Down went the other Salingers quickly. And Steinbeck? Well, he was God. I had read maybe a dozen or more of his books before Travels with Charley and I had my moment of doubt. What kind of man owns a poodle?

And so there was a hiatus, if you can call forty
Apr 02, 2015 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
Recommended to Lindsay by: Meghan Pinson
I should put this under poetry. I should put all Steinbeck under poetry.

One of the unfortunate victims of teaching (and especially student teaching) are the books we seek to read outside of scouring the curriculum day-in and day-out. I started this sorry soul about two months ago, and even though my heart swelled each time I picked it up, I was lucky to get a page in between finishing lesson planning at night and passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow. GAH! And so, out of defiance of gett
Nov 23, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

It's fair to say that John Steinbeck did not write the same book twice, even if he re-explored some of the same themes and used similar (and often archetypal) characters. This novel was published in 1947 and was Steinbeck's second novel since the 1938 publication of The Grapes of Wrath.* The success of that novel made a rod for Steinbeck's back, as throughout of his life (and beyond) readers and critics compared everything he wrote to it.

Well, just to get it out of the way, this is not another
Кремена Михайлова
Отдавна не бях преживявала удоволствието на класическата американска литература. Дори този роман малко ме изненада. Нито беше като романите с къртовския земеделски труд („Гроздовете на гнева” или „Към един незнаен бог”), нито като онези „луди градски” романи („Улица Консервна”, „Тортила Флет”). Може би по-скоро представлява галерия от образи; ако трябва да сравнявам; в „Небесните пасбища” имаше толкова разнообразни и привидно несвързани помежду си герои.

Сякаш книгата наистина беше като изложба
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Brilliant! Reading Steinbeck is like reading a perfect character study. The talent here is that it's a character study of 10 different characters in a novel of only 260 pages. And it's one of those rare occasions where an omniscient third person point of view coupled with an intrusive narrator in anything but annoying; in fact, Steinbeck couldn't have possibly achieved this level of complex characterisation in so little space otherwise. I came across a lot of reviews that say nothing much happen ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Gearóid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book!
It's been a while since I read anything by John Steinbeck.
I had forgotten just how brilliant a writer he was.
His descriptions of his characters physically and psychologically
is just incredible.
And his descriptions of nature...just stopped me in my tracks to
admire single sentences!

Just great!
Oct 19, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
I don't care at all about what the bus represents.

It might shine as a dumpy emblem of the American journey to either the realization or implosion of our future plans. But the story strikes me more as the common American journey not necessarily from childhood to manhood, like the universal Buldingsroman, but rather the solitary transformation to self-realization from what to who. After all, what can these characters do with a Virgil like Juan Chicroy? The prototypical guide never wavers, never f
Jan 01, 2011 Brixton rated it liked it
Shelves: masking-tape
Oct 2007: As always, a brilliant allegorist, incredibly keen on the simple and the complex, sometimes entirely perverse or wholly innocent, sometimes silly or sensible inner life of people, without ever resorting to the judgment of his characters. As always, pretty landscapes, words I've never seen before (useful ones too!), and a well-drawn portrait of a little place in that little window of time during which the old West became new. Unusual for Steinbeck: an amused narrator, which I quite like ...more
Sep 17, 2009 jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
as steinbeck wrote the first synopsis of the wayward bus in spanish, he had originally chosen el camión vacilador as the book's title. he writes, "the word vacilador, or the verb vacilar, is not translatable unfortunately, and it's a word we really need in english because to be 'vacilando' means that you're aiming at some place, but you don't care much whether you get there. we don't have such a word in english. wayward has an overtone of illicitness or illegality, based of course on medieval lo ...more
Apr 17, 2014 Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm rarely disappointed by Steinbeck's novels, and this, his next published work after Grapes of Wrath, was no exception.

The narrative follows a bus journey through California taken over a single day by a group of passengers including a company director and his wife and daughter, a travelling salesman, a stripper, a cantankerous old man, as well as two employees of the bus driver, Juan Chicoy. Having already been forced to spend the night in Chicoy's service station following mechanical issues w
Apr 20, 2008 Kristiina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people know Steinbeck for the obvious titles like "Of Mice and Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath". However it is in this story that I truly feel in love with this writer. I was instantly drawn to each character, hoping that I could magically be transformed back in time to a broken down bus and it's traveling cargo.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you haven't read much Steinbeck. This is the perfect book to get started with.
Bridgit Barger
Mar 05, 2016 Bridgit Barger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-reads
Definitely not my favorite of his, but still amazing (of course.)
May 13, 2010 Suzy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read, but...a non-ending. (Is that a spoiler?) Steinbeck's great descriptions and characters are here. The characters are flawed but sympathetic, with the possible exception of one who is perhaps all good, but nothing really comes of that. There's no real losers or winners, just a bunch of people that go through an experience together that alters them all, at least momentarily. It is like tossing up a jar of marbles: In the end, some fall back into the jar, some land somewhere else ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Rudi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot: A bus ride gone awry!

Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors because he has both a deep understanding of the human mind, and the ability to recognize what makes a good story. In this book he is less interested in the story itself, the bus ride, but more the individual stories of the people that take part in it. And not only that, he explores how this varied group of people tries to understand each other. In many ways it can be considered a quite harsh read, because you can see how all
Aug 11, 2013 Bookmaniac70 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Прекрасен, прекрасен Стайнбек! Той взима всеки един от героите си, нежно го поставя на дланта си и го разглежда от всички страни под микроскоп, регистрирайки недоловимите вътрешни движения- всяко трепване,всяка мисъл,всяка капчица пот, срам, похот, завист, омраза,честност, любов...Един автобус, един шофьор, шепа пътници, едно заведение в нищото.. Толкова пълнокръвни образи и как майсторски предава невидимите нишки между тях!
Nov 14, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group-reads
Juan Chicoy and his wife, Alice, run a little lunchroom at Rebel Corners, where the sleek Greyhound bus stops. Juan also drives a patched-up old bus, nothing like a Greyhound, on a local, connecting route that the Greyhound riders need to continue their journeys. WWII is over now, and people have places to go, things to see. And they are not at all happy when the bus is delayed because of a mechanical problem and may be further delayed because of storms.

The passengers are a cross-section of huma
Taylor Guffey
Aug 21, 2015 Taylor Guffey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this thinking, "Nothing is happening, yet I'm still hooked." And that pretty much sums up my thoughts on this book. It was interesting, to say the least.
Dec 30, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of his lesser-known works, this shines as Steinbeck always does in setting mood by describing setting. But it’s different than many of his works, too. The bus ride creates an island of limited characters with the bus driver Juan Chicoy, who, with his wife, runs the bus service and a lunch room in Rebel Corners, California. The first half of the book sets up knowing Juan and his wife, his right-hand man and her lunchroom helper, and the folks who take the bus ride. The characters are largely ...more
got this at the steinbeck museum in salinas, the museum gave me a renewed interest in steinbeck and his california and his way of recording the worlds of the people he met. This book was more than I expected in every way, racier, incredibly well set, with the charcters interacting in ways it would have been difficult to imagine on your own but understandably with steinbeck's hand at the tiller.
May 16, 2016 Melle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have been on hellish bus rides with other travelers
Recommended to Melle by: Wentworth Bookends
I like how John Steinbeck can create perfectly complex, complicated, flawed, incredibly human characters with very real motivations, which is why I love The Grapes of Wrath so very much. This was an interesting exploration of characters and personalities, but something about it felt less real and less impactful than TGoW. Maybe I shouldn't have read the introduction that referred to the book as allegorical. (Allegory. Blech.) Still, I liked it, because Steinbeck is a master of showcasing human f ...more
Apr 11, 2015 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gem in which a small cast of characters, soon to be passengers on a brief bus trip, are portrayed with brutal honesty, in all their ugliness and all-too-fleeting moments of beauty. These people have the thinnest layers of veneer over their savagery, which are cracked open once the bus is stranded for just a few hours, and are barely smoothed over once they think they are again civilization-bound. The honesty of some of the players makes them much worse human beings, but in other cases ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wrote a novel once about a group of passengers on a bus and found it a good vehicle (pardon the pun) to pack a mix of human emotions, shake them up and allow for some (but not all) resolution and learning in the end. The journey provides movement, the juxtaposition of passengers in the close confines of the bus allows for an in-your-face scrutiny of their character and inter-relationships, and the introduction of external threat exposes their vulnerabilities and strengths. And so it is with Th ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Juliana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Around midnight last night, I was torn between reading the last few chapters despite my 6 a.m. alarm that was set or saving a treat for myself in the morning. I ended up saving the book as a treat, but I had trouble falling asleep with the characters still dancing in my head.

The book starts slowly and builds as the characters are more fully drawn out. The plot of the story is simple on the outside, but infinetely complex as you look inside each character. I was glad that I had
Patricia Wayne
Sep 05, 2012 Patricia Wayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing I love about Steinbeck is his ability to take an incredibly simple situation, within a very limited setting (both in respect to place and time) and elaborate upon the many complexities of character among those he has placed within the setting. The characters in The Wayward Bus are infinitely simple, but at the same time have a limitless complexity that's elaborated in Steinbeck's descriptions of their inner thoughts and personal histories that define who they are.

These personal charac
John Steinbeck is a master when it comes to his presentation of character and setting. He had the innate ability to mix the two and produce writing that is compelling in its simplicity, but ever so enriching in its focus.

In this novel, he manages to turn a bus ride into an in depth character study of people caught in the confines of a bus together. From Juan, the man who so wants to escape, to the Pritchards so bogged down by their everyday manipulations of one another, Steinbeck creates clear
Feb 27, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
«Заблудившийся автобус» - это небольшое произведение с темой, которая меня очень цепляет. А именно — путешествия и случайные встречи абсолютно разных людей в одном месте.

Итак, мы видим небольшую придорожную закусочную, рядом с которой стоит большой старый автобус. Хуан и Алиса — владельцы этого добра. И вот в закусочную, а потом и в автобус попадают несколько абсолютно разных персонажей: красотка, мающаяся из-за своей внешности, и девушка-бледная-моль, которая мечтает о любви голливудской звезд
Mar 11, 2009 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For my third Steinbeck, I chose The Wayward Bus. This is an interesting--though not particularly charming--story of disgruntled individuals brought together by a seemingly-never-ending bus ride. While the book technically revolves around a bus ride, the focus of the story is more on the waywardness of the people. How each of Steinbeck's characters are unhappy each in their own way. The book examines humanity--up, close, and a bit too personal. Each character is distinct in that they all have the ...more
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Camille Oaks 3 7 May 17, 2016 06:35AM  
Footnotes that destroy a good book 4 55 Jul 24, 2014 10:48AM  
  • The Road Through the Wall
  • The Mansion
  • The Long Dream
  • John Steinbeck, Writer
  • The Kindness Of Strangers: The Life Of Tennessee Williams
  • Thuggin In Miami (The Family Is Made : Part 1)
  • The Torrents of Spring
  • The Color of Night
  • Good Day to Die
  • Blood on the Forge
  • Jean Rhys: The Complete Novels (Voyage in the Dark, Quartet, After Leaving Mr Mackenzie, Good Morning, Midnight, Wide Sargasso Sea)
  • Derrida: A Very Short Introduction
  • Selected Tales and Sketches
  • Zuckerman Unbound
  • John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs
  • Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship
  • Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction
  • To Skin a Cat
John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
More about John Steinbeck...

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“Her father was frightened by a strange bed or a foreign language or a political party he didn't belong to. Her father truly believed that the Democratic party was a subversive organization whose design would destroy the United States and put it in the hands of bearded communists.” 2 likes
“The walls, where there was room, were well decorated with calendars and posters showing bright, improbable girls with pumped-up breasts and no hips - blondes, brunettes and redheads, but always with this bust development, so that a visitor of another species might judge from the preoccupation of artist and audience that the seat of procreation lay in the mammaries. Alice Chicoy...who worked among the shining girls, was wide-hipped and sag-chested and she walked well back on her heels...She was not in the least jealous of the calendar girls and the Coca-Cola girls. She had never seen anyone like them, and she didn't think anyone ever had.” 1 likes
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