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Heaven's My Destination

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  183 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Drawing on such unique sources as the author’s unpublished letters, business records, and obscure family recollections, Tappan Wilder’s Afterword adds a special dimension to the reissue of this hilarious tale about goodness in a fallen world.

Meet George Marvin Brush—Don Quixote come to Main Street in the Great Depression, and one of Thornton Wilder’s most memorable charact
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 16th 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1935)
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Apr 22, 2013 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: humour
An amusing and not too well known tale of one of literature's innocents; George Marvin Brush. It is set in the depression era of the 1930s. The novel might be said to be picaresque and there is a touch of the tilting at windmills about it (Brush is only a very little like Don Quixote and there is no Sancho Panza).
Brush is a travelling textbook salesman, who has his own particular brand of Christianity, which he tries to share. The novel has been described as a satire on fundamentalist/evangelica
Allie Whiteley
A quick read (I mislaid my copy for a long while). Parts were funny and parts were exasperating. I'm not exactly sure what it is Wilder was trying to say about this particular brand of evangelicalism. The central character, George Brush, a travelling salesman with very particular religious views (an amalgam of a particular interpretation of the Bible and Gandhi) is odd yet sincere. His ethics seem to rile people no end and he is often arrested for the situations which arise from this conflict. O ...more
Wilder, Thornton. HEAVEN’S MY DESTINIATION. (1935). ****. This is a different kind of novel for Wilder. Set in Depression America, it chronicles the travels of it’s traveling salesman hero. On meeting anyone, our hero always provides the necessary information about himself. For example, when he visits a summer camp for young students, one of the women there approaches him:

“What’s your name?” she asked.
“George arvin Brush. I was born in Michigan. I’m a traveling salesman in school books. I came
4 1/2 stars. More so than any author I know, Wilder has the ability to find the universal in the specific, the humor in the sadness, and the sadness in the humor. This book about the birth, death, and resurrection of one man's religious convictions contains some of the greatest laughs I've ever encountered in literature and some truly painful pathos (Although, no pathos is the world of Wilder could ever top Esteban's experiences in "Bridge of San Luis Rey.") What's so amazing is how fair Wilder ...more
"George Brush is my name;
America's my nation;
Ludington's my dweling place
And Heaven's my destination."
(Epigraph for the novel)

An informed and realistic look at the struggles of the depression era, Heaven's My Destination is a comic picaresque tale that defies categorization. It was Wilder's fourth novel and second after the wildly popular The Bridge of San Luis Rey. The hero of the story, George Brush, is an other-worldly figure whose single-minded pursuit of a philosophy that seems like pure ho
Sam Torode
Thornton Wilder's funniest work, and one of my favorite books ever. I've read it 3 or 4 times now, and get more out of it each time. It carries a lot of personal meaning for me, and was a major influence on my own novel.
George Brush is a great character, and I enjoyed being both as frustrated and enchanted by him as most of the people he meets during his tribulations. His portrayal is calibrated in such a way that he is a likable fanatic. It's a pity that after his marriage to Roberta, the story speeds up and becomes far less detailed, but I like the fact that after this big melt-down, he starts behaving in the same way all over again. Wilder's point is that we are the way we are, and for better or worse, will ...more
Loved it. Don Quijote meets the Bible Belt.
Four and a half because this is a peculiar little book. The intro and afterword are excellent. Thornton Wilder is a complicated man! At first i thought this was going to be a Charles Portis type of satire of the disingenuous, the bumptious baptist full of good news and met with bad faith, and it plays that way at first, with George Brush the butt of the joke. I wonder also if Winston Groom had read this book... However, things start to get complicated with the introduction and influence of gandh ...more

Say there, young man: Are you feeling Unfit for Society? Battling with Depression? Socially persecuted because of your ideals? Well, take heart because you are not alone! George Brush has walked down that lonely path in life himself.

Both as playwright and novelist, Thornton Wilder captures the essence of human nature--revealing its hesitant yearnings and poignant humiliations in the daily struggle for recognition in an indifferent world. Despite the almost humorous
Definitely an interesting read. Reading it brought waves of discomfort, like watching early episodes of The Office and cringe-laughing every time Michael Scott opens his mouth. I've never read anything by Thornton Wilder before, and I loved the way he wrote this; his writing style is (unsurprisingly and probably redundantly) stunning. I liked this, and I loved the way the picaresque narrative worked in it.The ending felt rushed, but it did fit the plot well.
Clark Knowles
A very funny book about a traveling salesman named George Brush. He's naive and optimistic and single-minded in his approach to life. He is a recently converted Christian who also believes that Ghandi had the answers to the world's problems. He meets and talks with people all along his route--gets in trouble with pretty much every person and institution he meets because of his goodness and adherence to his own principals. He's driven by unswerving faith at all times. He meets regular Americans w ...more
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
One of the greatest of comic American novels, and I continue to be amazed that more readers aren't familiar with it. Like Thornton Wilder's other comic works, it's also very, very serious, and it paints a very memorable and picaresque account of Depression America. It could make a swell movie, but who's around (or who's left) who could direct it?
I love Thornton Wilder, but somehow had never gotten around to reading this book. It was thought-provoking and, unexpectedly, hilarious. George Brush ostentatiously tries to lead a good and moral life, and ends up exasperating or enraging the people around him--he is always getting beaten up, told off, or arrested. The courtroom chapter is priceless.
Nov 29, 2013 Wayne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the curious
Recommended to Wayne by: "The Bridge of San Luis Rey

It was a surprise
AND a pleasure
just to see how the majority of Americans in this book
ABSOLUTELY loathed, hated and reviled
its Bible-bashing, fundamentalist hero.

But of course Thornton Wilder
and he wouldn't let us either.
George Brush (just a little too close to "George Bush" for me,)
is a likeable hero
and by the end of the book he has...
well, read it.

Having ONLY read Wilder's MARVELLOUS "The Bridge Of San Luis Rey"
6 TIMES !!!!
I really thought it about time to extend my repertoire
and so pi
Kate Blumenthal
This is quite an amazing book. I am in the camp of those who view it as a masterpiece. I can't do it justice in a review. The emotional landscape is somewhere between Candide, Don Quixote and Canterbury Tales. I really liked the hero, even while he was driving me crazy.
Written & set during the Great Depression, this novel features a young (22), idealistic traveling textbook salesman, who was converted to Christianity while at a Baptist college in North Dakota. He works hard to live his faith & his ideals that are not typical of evangelicals, including pacifism & something he calls "voluntary poverty"; he has been strongly influenced by Ghandi's example. His outspokenness & innocence repeatedly land him in trouble & earn the resentment of ma ...more
A lovely book, of a time and place very different from ours. The friend who introduced me to this book says it's not at all well-known; what a pity! (Also, the protagonist reminded me strongly of the late lamented Dave Carter. Anybody know if he was a fan?)
It's hard to choose one or even a couple main themes in Heaven's My Destination to discuss. There is so much going on in this book, though many critics say it is unimportant and silly. The main character George Brush is America...America at a time when it was hard to be American, during the Great Depression. Religion, morals and individuality all play major roles in the development of Brush throughout the novel to the point of almost eminent physical, social and emotional demise. It is Brush's r ...more
One of the quirkier characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about.
Great book. Loved it. Read it in a day.
Not having read Wilder thanks to the too many high school productions of "Our Tonw" each title I read by him now is a bit of a revelation. Written in the same time period, this reminds me an awful lot of a N West novel - the naive, good hearted individual brought to understand the ways of the world.

Nephew and literay rexecutor Tappan Wilder and his wife seem to have a hold on the whole "Wilder industry", but his notes and added material at the end of each volume in this series is appreciated.
Set in the 30's, this book is told from one young man's point of view as he strives to live out his faith in a fallen world. It's a commentary on the value of the faith community. We're simply not meant to have to walk this journey without others to encourage, support, and correct erroneous thinking. Christians simply need the church to stay balanced and upright in the midst of confusing times and circumstances.
Charles Dee Mitchell
This book should be more read than it seems to be. It's a sort of picaresque novel of a young man whose religious conversion has made him unbearable to most of those he meets, and whose conviction's and ideas can land him in either the hospital or jail. The dialog, and the book is almost entirely dialog, is funny and the characters all perfectly captured.
It's about a naive Christian salesman, and it's kind of smarmy. Wilder isn't a holier-than-though kind of guy, so the hero here doesn't go far, and neither does the story, really.
Carl Macki
A great read! I read it so many years ago, I will revisit. Thornton Wilder
Diana Eberhardt
I really liked this book about a young traveling salesman during the Depression. Lots of interesting characters, situations, words and expressions.
Jul 30, 2011 Pam added it
Quirky book written during the depression. George Brush, traveling salesman, is endearing and gives the book it's "quirk".
Nicole P
Very interesting and easy to misread. Not my favorite of what I have read by him but another good example of how versitle he is
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Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.
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