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The Pearl

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  102,709 ratings  ·  3,817 reviews
A retelling of an old Mexican folk tale involving the discovery of a great pearl and the ensuing misfortune of the fisherman who found it.

Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time...more
Mass Market Paperback, 90 pages
Published February 1st 1993 by Penguin Books (first published 1945)
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Yasemin heaps of imagery and an impressive plethora of new words. it's a short read, and the message/moral is quite clear. it'd be good for them, i think.
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Community Reviews

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sckenda
Aug 18, 2014 sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who dream of winning the lottery
Recommended to sckenda by: My Sister Angie
Kino listens to music that nobody else can hear. Music descends upon this impoverished pearl diver from the ancestral voices inside his head. His people had once been great makers of song so that everything they ever thought or did or heard became a song, and Kino hears this “Song of the Family.”

Kino enjoys his contented life of meek expectation along the Gulf coast of Baja Sur California, Mexico. “It is good not to want a thing too much,” he says, so he rejoices in the small pleasures of life:...more
brian
goodreads david writes this: I'm convinced that the general besmirchers of Steinbeck are fucktards, asswads, and vibrating pustules.

it's nice as a reader (bad, i guess, as a reviewer) when a writer achieves can-do-no-wrong status. reading steinbeck i feel less distance between the writer -> his words -> myself than with nearly any other writer. his prose stylings can't touch his contemporaries, his structure and pacing can be sloppy, he's sentimental, preachy, overly didactic, and his them...more
Nilesh Kashyap
It was a big mistake I made 3 days ago, I was going to start 'Charlotte's Web' but instead I started 'The Pearl' thinking it was written before ‘Of Mice and Men’ and on just finishing I found it was written much later. All I remember is my decision to read books in sequence they were published. Anyway it can’t be undone.

The Review:

“In the town they tell the story of the great pearl” how it was found and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the
...more
Mario
Overall, it's just not very good. I keep debating whether I should rate it one star or two, but ultimately the Goodreads definition of the two-star rating, "it was ok," pushes me over the edge. It wasn't ok; nothing about this was ok.

The writing style is bad, though I haven't read enough Steinbeck to know whether his stilted, awkward prose is just an affectation for this work (in an insulting attempt to illustrate that his main characters are poorly educated), or whether he is just always like t...more
Madeline
Poor pearl diver in South America finds giant-ass pearl, decides to sell it and use the money to buy medicine for his baby, who just got bitten by a scorpion. The mierda hits the fan, people die, everything generally goes to hell in a handbasket, and it all happens in about the space of time it took you to read this review.

Verdict: meh.

Read for: 10th grade English
Auntie J
I had to read this for school. It did keep my interest, but the ending made the story pointless to me. Actually the story does have a point - it just hits you over the head with it like a hammer. Basically a man continues to strive and struggle, and keeps losing. This I think is an unintended "lesson" in this book, and what I found so annoying. Of course the intended lession is regarding striving for the wrong things, missing what is important.

Books like this should have some ultimate redemption...more
Stephen
A sad tale of a happy, young family whose discovery of a pearl of great wealth brings only death and misery.

A fisherman, Kino, discovers a large pearl while harvesting oysters with his wife. Believing they are now rich, the fisherman formulates plans that will allow him and his family to live a better life. The plans are modest and include sending their baby son to school, formally marrying his wife in a church, and buying a rifle.

The Plot
A young fisherman discovers a large pearl. Believing the...more
Kim

A jewel of a novella, short, suspenseful and moving, The Pearl is the re-telling of a Mexican folk tale. It's the story of Kino, a poor pearl diver, who finds an enormous pearl. He sees it as the path to dignity for his family and an education for his son, but it brings tragedy instead. Essentially a parable, a central message of the work is to be careful what you wish for. The message is obvious from the text and there's nothing subtle about the way in which it's presented. On the other hand, S...more
Jason Koivu
With details as stark as the landscape and morals nearly as plain, The Pearl fits into the fable-esque style of tales such as The Good Earth. I read this in school and then many years later as an adult, and I still really enjoy it. Something about the stubborn will of the main character appeals and repulses. You could say the theme of pushing that fine line between simply providing for one's family and out-and-out greed is even more prevalent in America over the last few decades than when The Pe...more
Ellie
3.5 Stars

First off, I would have given this novella four stars if the introduction written by Linda Wagner-Martin hadn't completely spoiled the story for me. The whole plot of the book is given away in the introduction. So my advice to anyone that also as this edition of this book: Skip the intro and read the novella first!

I thought the Pearl was a wonderful little story and John Steinbeck is an absolutely amazing writer. He is one of my favourite authors. Steinbeck's stories are poignant and f...more
Darren
Jul 31, 2007 Darren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a very powerful book that's mostly about deceptive treasures - finding certain things that are out of reach to be of utmost importance, or getting to excited about material goods. I really liked how this book shows us that family and our own ways of life are to be appreciated and maintained for their sake, that we shouldn't cast aside the way we want to do things and pursue earthly treasures or the ways that others (in this book, the white folks) do things. Kinda like a story about pulli...more
Matt
It surprises me that almost everyone on my GR friends list who has rated this book gave it three stars or less. Is this because you all were forced to read it in junior high? I don't recall being assigned this book in school, but back then I probably would have not read it and just faked my way through the test. The books that I do remember reading in school such as Flowers for Algernon, The Outsiders, and The Late Great Me (teenaged boozers get the Reefer Madness treatment) are remembered throu...more
Erwin
Be careful what you wish for... This seems to be the biggest lesson to be learnt from this parable. This is the second time I read this short novel. The first time being in highschool. The story was not bad but it was too descriptive for my taste which made progress too slow. Three stars for sentimental value.
Stephen
Trying to add a bit of fiber to my reading diet, too much teen romance may rot my teeth. I found this one sweet enough to be suspect though.

It has that sad whimsy that says John Steinbeck to me and it's a fast read that's probably good for you. In some ways the pearl that Kino finds reminded me of Frodo's ring. Even down to the fugitives hiding from a dark rider!

Mexico has had a sad history and not all of that sorrow has yet been exorcised. This story gives a flavor of that. It's by turns fanci...more
Julie
So, John Steinbeck and his editor walk into a bar. . . (disclaimer: I'm making this up) and John's editor says, "John, it's so bor-ing being your editor. I mean, you've written the Great American novel, you've won the Pulitzer, you've fought for the poor man, you've made your fiction read like non-fiction and your non-fiction read like fiction."

John lights a smoke, takes a slug of beer, grunts. Reports from the war hum from a radio at the bar and his editor finds the courage to continue.

"Well....more
Kim


life sucks. no matter how hard you try to be good, how much you want to better the lives of your children or for that matter, let’s just throw in society, no matter how much you love… someone is there to just screw you over because people are vile, sinful, destructive and are usually bad drivers to boot.

so, just give it up now. you think you came into a lucky break? Naww… that’s just crap throwing you the proverbial bone. little did you know the bone was from a baby lamb. watch another reality...more
Greg
7th grade me hated this book, and it would be about 15 years before the trauma of this book and the terrible method it was taught finally lifted enough for me to read another Steinbeck novel. Bad English teachers shouldn't be allowed to teach.
Brian Robbins
This is a beautifully crafted little book. If it was not so corny I would label it a little gem. As it is horribly corny, I won’t. Good Lord! Where did "corny" pop up from? - a flashback to childhood.)

In his introduction, Steinbeck suggests that it may be read as a parable. I found it very difficult not to read it as a kind of photographic negative of Matthew 13:45. Kino, having found his pearl of great price, sacrifices all he has for it. What he “gains” however, is no kingdom of heaven, only...more
Afshar
مروارید آوازی دیگر دارد
آواز نوین از وحشیتی کهن
که زیر تفنگ و زور سپید پوستان اسپانیولی خفه شده
در لاپاز مکزیک ساکنان بومی زندگی فقیرانه ای را تجربه میکنند
و ترس قرن هاست که بومی ها را از فریاد کشیدن در مقابل ظلم این متجاوزان فلج کرده
بخاطر طلا و مروارید که سپید پوستان چه جنایت ها انجام نداده بودن
ولی این بار مروارید نمیاد خوشبختی ببار بیاورد
آمده است تا توهینی که به او شده و قیمت بررویش گذاشته اند را تلافی کند
مرواریدی بزرگ در دست کینو یک بومی فقیر می افتد
برای اولین بار در برابر همه سپید پوستا یک بومی...more
Rakhi Dalal
I really wanted to like the work but just couldn't. The narration is simple, clear and beautiful and Kino's determination to grab the only chance given to him is the element which, to a point hold interest in the book, but apart from that there isn't much to remember it for.

It was my first Steinbeck and I felt disappointed. I do hope there will be much to explore in his more famous works.
Amira

بعثرتني .. و ما زلت أعجز عن أن ألملم شتات نفسي !

كيف لرواية بهذا العدد الصغير من الصفحات أن تكون بهذا العمق ؟
كيف تستطيع أن تتغلغل في النفس إلي هذا الحد ؟

إنها تكشف عن الكثير من خبايا النفس الإنسانية
تجعلك تتساءل .. كيف .. و لمَ .. و أين ؟

تقرُّ بأننا جميعا - من أبسطنا شأنا إلي أعظمنا - قادرون علي الحلم .. كلنا لدينا هذا البريق اللامع في العينين إذا ما تحدثنا عن أحلامنا و بدت لنا قريبة المنال .

تكشف أيضا إلي أي مدي يمكن أن يصل الإنسان ليدافع عن حلمه , و أيّ حلم !!

كينو الرجل الففير المعدَم كان يحلم
...more
jzhunagev
Mar 04, 2011 jzhunagev rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to jzhunagev by: Second Year High School Required Reading in Ms Concepcion's English Class
Of Hope and Disillusionment
A Book Review of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl


Although February is a few days over, I’m still on the last stretch of reading John Steinbeck’s works, the previous month’s featured Author of the Month. As a finale I’m walking down memory lane as I chose to reread the one and only high school required book reading which I’ve come to love over the years and is at the top of the books I definitely call Dark Chest of Wonders: The Pearl.

John Steinbeck’s novella first appeared in...more
Martha
As I started reading The Pearl, enjoying the beautiful descriptions of an early morning through Kino’s eyes, lulled and mesmerized, all of a sudden something unexpected slapped me awake from my reveries. Oh, my, that was unexpected! And from that point I was hooked on The Pearl.

The Pearl is based on a Mexican folk tale. John Steinbeck had heard the folk tale while visiting La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, and was inspired to write this novella. This is very simply written, but the message is...more
Elise
I just finished reading this while coming down from our vacation in California, where my daughter and I visited the John Steinbeck Museum in Salinas. She is 10 years old and read it on the long car trip back home, and I read it shortly thereafter so we could discuss it. "The Pearl" is a beautifully written and heartbreaking little book with a powerful message--to live in the moment and appreciate the blessings in our lives, no matter how small they might be. It takes many people their whole live...more
Gina
"And, as with all retold tales that are in people's hearts, there are only good things and bad things and black and white things and no in-between things anywhere."
Shane
Being a Steinbeck fan, I am not sure how I missed this novella during my student years. But I am glad that I finally found it. The Pearl is a precursor to Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea: a man finds a fortune and inherits the misfortune than comes with it; letting go is the only solution.

Set in a Latin American locale, impoverished pearl diver Kino and his wife Juana are visited by a scorpion that bites their baby Coyotito. This opening scene sets off a chain of unfortunate events. Juana be...more
Amalie
This wonderful novella is another reason why John Steinbeck is one of my favourite authors. It is very brief, but it communicates as much as a novel 10 times its length. The ending is brilliant, tragic, and redemptive. It is a story that few could write, and even fewer could make work. The emotional scenes he brings the reader to are, at times almost violent in there reading. And then with a turn of phrase he can change the mood time and time again.

The story is about a poor pearl diver and an oc...more
Trevor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan
I feel like I just finished reading an Affordable Care Act tableau.

Kino and Juana live along the Gulf of Mexico, where the main industry for indigenous/non-Spanish people is hunting for pearls. Their life isn't extravagant, but it isn't miserable either.

Then their son, Coyotito, is stung by a scorpion, and they are frantic to save his life. The Spanish doctor won't help Kino and Juana, because, well, he thinks they're poor and dirty and deserve to die.

A real colonial doctor of the people, eh?...more
Joey
I hung back a few times whether I should have given it five or four stars on account of the goodreads members’ opinions. I was wondering why. For me, I wanted to give it 5 stars. First of all, since it is a novella, I was not expecting something unnecessary puddings to make it Pulitzer-prize winning. The story is neat and organized- suitable to John Steinback’s goal, enough to give a moral lesson that materialism brings about EVIL. I learned that he had a hard time finishing it, which is normal...more
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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...more
More about John Steinbeck...
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“For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.” 82 likes
“Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.” 31 likes
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