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The Short Novels

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  5,776 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The short novels of John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon is Down, Cannery Row, The Pearl
Paperback, 568 pages
Published 1997 by Minerva (first published 1953)
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East of Eden by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John SteinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckCannery Row by John SteinbeckThe Red Pony by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck's Country
42nd out of 55 books — 29 voters
Little Women by Louisa May AlcottThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
Size Matters!
138th out of 284 books — 18 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kerry
I've decided to start a tradition of reading several novels from my favorite author, John Steinbeck, every summer. This summer I chose a collection of Steinbeck's short novels, and although I had read all but "Cannery Row" and "The Moon Is Down" before, I hadn't read "The Pearl" or "The Red Pony" in about 15 years. I've really enjoyed returning to these classics after so many years, and I found like that I liked "The Pearl" a lot more than I remembered it and I liked "The Red Pony" a lot less. " ...more
Theresa Powers
I read The Red Pony today. It is such a sad, coming of age story. Life lessons come up constantly in this book. I particularly enjoy the setting of the book on a ranch in California. It paints a clear picture of farm life. I gain an appreciation for the harshness of the land and hard work. The boy, Jody, learns how to be a man in this rudimentary environment. Although his father models a man with little emotion, the boy goes through a myriad of emotions. I found myself crying at certain points b ...more
Andrew
ok, so I haven't read all of the stories yet. Still, I wanted to post my review on the copy that I own.

The first story I read in this collection was the Red Pony. It is easily a four star read. Too start with, some of the imagery in the book is stunning. Steinbeck is an approachable writer but he can craft a powerful image. A birthing scene in the barn stands out in my mind. The character, a farm-hand, in a violent but powerful scene is able to come through. And Steinbeck does a great job of se
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R.
This collection of Steinbeck's shorter works was a real breath of fresh air from today's standard fare of angst filled, post-apocalyptic teens or the sad reminiscence of the post-war novel that is all the rage among the literary set of late. The Short Novels is undeniable proof, if it was even necessary, that good writing wins out over trendiness every time.

That Steinbeck's writing has resisted the test of time is no secret. The hidden beauty in his works, however, is the cross-generational appe
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Jimmy
A great collection of short stories by the great John Steinbeck.

One thing I re-realized while reading this collection was that all good things should be taken in moderation. The same goes for good books. As much as I love the work of Steinbeck, it's nice to read something else every once in a while, if only to have the desire for exceptional writing to gnaw at you once again, forcing you to go back to a favorite author. What I mean is that instead of reading this within the time frame that I did
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Susan
The Moon is Down Review (9/02/12)
Gave 4 stars
Interesting novella that follows the story about a "silent" rebellious coastal townspeople who have recently been conquered by an invading army. While the townspeople do not outwardly or actively rebel or resist, they look on to the invading army with cruel, cold, and un-trusting eyes which kills some of the invading army's soldiers. The dialogue was really creative and the characters were well-crafted.


The Red Pony Review (9/01/12)
Gave 2 stars
To tell
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Jogle
I read these books years ago before I ever read Steinbeck’s more weighty novels of 'East Of Eden' and 'The Grapes of Wrath'. After a recent scan of these works my thoughts on them have not diminished. If only dipping into the novellas and short stories, most readers will go straight to 'Of Mice and Men'. To read only this is a mistake of catastrophic literary proportions. If you like allegorical tales this is indeed a good book, in a similar vein to The Pearl. It does not, however come close to ...more
Leah
Tortilla Flat (I would rate it as a 4/5 stars.)

This short novel gripped my heart on a daily basis. It was quite commonplace writing, in the sense that it often felt like journal entries. "This person did this...this person did that...." But it was always enough that the reader wished to keep going. It might not always be the most intriguing stories day to day, but I never felt moments of not wanting to know what was going on with each character.

I was very overwhelmed with how much alcohol affec
...more
Jess Michaelangelo
Prior to reading this collection, I considered myself a fan of John Steinbeck. I had, at one point or another, read The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and of course, Of Mice and Men. I enjoyed all of those well enough to want to read more, more, more by Steinbeck. Hence, I picked up this book and began reading.

The first thing that came to mind upon finishing this is that John Steinbeck has officially made it into my sacred realm of Favorite Authors. There were some novellas here that I enjoyed
...more
Ayana
The book of the pearl had many symbolism in it. The pearl mostly had about the pearl of coarse, oysters, and Kino&Juana

The Pearl represented the earth's riches, it is beautiful on the outside and everything seems like it is going well, but if you look deeper you can really tell that everything is not okay. It can be filled with, greed,hate,suffering,pollution,and etc. Kino, was a reflection on human society, and there are people in the society who see the big picture (Juana Represents that)
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treva
Tortilla Flat: *** - Since my intro to Steinbeck was The Grapes of Wrath, I was really relieved that this first story in the collection was not emotionally grueling, but was light and amusing. While Steinbeck does laugh at and kind of make fun of his characters here, I also have the impression that he cares for them a great deal. They don't always make the smartest choices, but ultimately, they are sweet people.

The Red Pony: ***

Of Mice and Men: ****

The Moon Is Down: ***** - Superb and understate
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Patrick Walsh
I am actually re-reading this excellent collection of Steinbeck's short novels; I tend to return to old favorites again and again, like visiting old friends. Accounts of my affection for these stories could fill several small volumes on their own; suffice it to say that I heartily recommend John Steinbeck's work to anyone interested in understanding 20th century American literature and culture.

My favorite here is Of Mice and Men; I have read it more frequently than any of Steinbeck's books, and
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Cass -  Words on Paper
14/02/2013, birthday present from parents (I asked for it). The book itself is just lovely... even nicer than I could have imagined. The cover is smooth and of good quality. The pb book is big, but the pages open up easily and such that the spine won't easily crack (unless you intend to do so). The font isn't too small, on par with some other classic novel lines. The edges are deckled. There are french flaps. On the front page is a summary of John Steinbeck's life and works/achievements, and als ...more
Alan
Steinbeck stands out as a great writer who is not really a very good writer. His greatness is undisputed, because
of his subject, the working class American--to use a post-Steinbeck phrase. But his prose is not intriguing, seductive,
surprising, as we expect great authors to write. In fact, Steinbeck himself doubted his gifts as a writer, and
he was not wrong. But his discovery and documentation--almost in a journalist sense--of American life
as it was developing into the America we are...This is u
...more
L.
My first foray into Steinbeck. The astonishing thing is how much humor there is--much more than I would have thought. The Moon is Down is, from my perspective, a little-known gem, and my favorite is Cannery Row--a masterpiece of characterization.
Al

Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck’s most widely read and beloved novels—Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down, Cannery Row, and The Pearl. From Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, and hope in Of Mice and Men, to his tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl’s examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck created stories that were realistic, rugg

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Marty
loved tortilla flat and cannery row, both days in the lives of the monterrey underclass, where the preferred unit of measure of wine is the gallon, and money is only procured as needed by cutting squids for the chinaman. the moon is down is something petraeus and the rest of the pentagon war-boys should have to read, fiction about the facts and fantasies of military occupation. mice and men grew on me. the pearl was just too damn depressing, i already know people suck, especially rich greedy peo ...more
Chelsea
The only one of these I couldn't get into was the longest, Tortilla Flat.

I am amazed at Steinbeck's ability to change his voice so drastically from one story to the next. I didn't feel like I was reading the collection of a single author because the voice was so distinctly different for each story.

Loved this read. So glad I picked it up. I only wish it came in hardback (because I'm a book brat, thank you Todd Peterson).
Jasper
This is a beautifully bound collection of Steinbeck's short stories. I love Steinbeck and find his work easy to read, but I read The Pearl for the first time and found it almost unbearably depressing as a story, it is beautiful but relentlessly tragic. The last 10 pages were a struggle and I think took me half a dozen attempts to finish. I thoroughly recommend this collection to all.
Nick Schroeder
Rereading The Moon is Down because I read Per Petterson's To Siberia earlier this year as much of that takes place during the Nazi occupation of Denmark during WWII. Although it isn't specified in the novella and summaries of The Moon is Down say that it takes place in an unspecified country I have always assumed that it was Denmark. Don't know why.
Joana
He had said, "I am a man," and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength against the sea. Juana, in her woman's soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it.
Elaine Maddox
I have read The Pearl and the Moon is Down, loved the Moon is Down, think The Pearl was a bit too much of allegory and reminded me of Biblical parables. Yet, it still pleased me and I did like the characters. I am now moving on to Tortilla Flat. I have decided overall that I love John Steinbeck.
Allison Rockwell
Love love love love love Steinbeck. He knows exactly which details to use in order to capture the essence of the scene. His grasp of human emotion makes my heart ache. His use of nature and animals to reflect and enrich the experiences of the humans in his tales is masterful. Literary. Crush.
Richard Magahiz
I read The Pearl many years ago. Recently I read Of Mice and Men and I think I can see some theatrical/cinematic influence on the writing. I think I might want to pick up Cannery Row next at some point, thinking back to a visit we made a while back to the John Steinbeck museum in Salinas.
David R
What else can I say about Steinbeck that hasn't already been said? What I can say about this book is that if all I knew of Steinbeck was from what my high school teacher taught me when I read Grapes of Wrath, I would have thought he Steinbeck was a good writer. This book made me love him.
Nancy
I reread Cannery Row and am still impressed at the intelligence and character development. John Steinbeck develops characters with such impressive description that I feel I know them personally. I know I always learn more when I again read something that I read in high school.
Jen
This is a short taste of Steinbeck. I read if after East of Eden. You know it's Steinbeck writing as soon as you get through the first page. It's not a long read, but it made me sad. It caused me to be more tender to those who repeat their stories.
Eric
Most of these stories are fantastic. Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, are all unforgetable.

The only one I found a bore was 'The Pearl', I see what was trying to be accomplished, but feel the tale fell short of the lesson being presented.
Zac
I'd say my rating of three stars is something of an average. I thought The Moon Is Down was excellent. I really enjoyed Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, and The Pearl. I did not like Of Mice and Men or Cannery Row at all.
Jacob Combs
Good to have them all in one place, but it is a version with very small print, and I haven't had much time to get into it, since I'm weeding stuff out of the house whenever I can. Plan to get deeply into each story sometime soon!
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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
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More about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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