The Winter of Our Discontent
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The Winter of Our Discontent

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  22,348 ratings  ·  1,008 reviews
From a swashbuckling pirate fantasy to a meditation on American morality—two classic Steinbeck novels make their black spine debuts

IN AWARDING John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genui...more
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published 1961 by Viking Press
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Meghan Pinson
I think I have a crush on John Steinbeck. But even if I met him somewhere -- a cocktail party, a barbeque, even my own bookstore -- I don't think I'd talk to him. Maybe make eye contact in a brave and silent way. Sometimes I get the feeling that he is friendly and easy-going, compassionate and kind, and really interested in people in general and persons in particular ... but I know that he is deeply brilliant, and I would say something ridiculous that I would turn over and over in my head (menta...more

When I started reading this, the last novel written by John Steinbeck, I initially thought that I wasn’t going to like it. The prose was as fine as I expected it to be, but it seemed such a small story, compared to powerful epics like The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. However, the story grew on me as I read and the ending packed a punch.

Mostly in the form of a first person narrative, the novel is about Ethan Hawley, a likeable man in his late thirties, married to a woman he loves and the fa...more
John Steinbeck's The Winter of our Discontent is a study of morality in the individual and in the community. Set in a New England town where everyone knows everyone else's business and history, Ethan Hawley narrates his experience with the various moral temptations one season offers him.

Under pressure from associates and his own family, Ethan becomes increasingly dissatisfied with his diminished station in life and begins to consider a brief transformation, a temporary suspension of his identit...more
Oct 01, 2007 Matthew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
there was a time in my life when i read this each fall, as the the michigan winter was about to make my psyche turn to salt. i first read it by accident, finding it in my co-op on the floor in a room that had been abandonded and now was only used for smoking this and that. the walls of the room had been painted different superheroes from the previous tenant's childhood. i liked the rendition of green hornet, although the renderer claimed he was an after-thought, someone to fill the space between...more
I learned a lesson about why I should finish books, even if the story does not grip me and I find the protagonist boring. (Thanks, book club) Initially, I thought... oh man... middle aged man making bitter jokes out of his miserable life. I felt sorry for his wife.

However, as I realized what was happening as I got farther and farther into the book, I found myself wishing there was a sequel because I want to know what happened to Ethan a year or two down the road. Was he able to live with himsel...more
William S.
There is a certain emotion in Steinbeck I have not found in other authors. Faulkner comes close, Hemingway a bit further off, perhaps Woolf is on a parallel path. Steinbeck shows us something into ourselves, he states in the book that we all have our own light, we are not a bonfire. We only understand others to the point that we assume they are akin to ourselves. Steinbeck, like Woolf in the Waves, shows us that we are all connected, and that we can find a path in this world through this novel....more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 6* of five

This is a wonderful short novel by a master of his craft at the peak of his form. It is also his last novel.

Some people at the time it was published felt it was a wrong turning for Steinbeck ("The Grapes of Wrath", "Tortilla Flat") to abandon both the west coast that had made him famous and brought his considerable social conscience to the world's attention for an east coast grifter's POV. "The Winter of Our Discontent" is a story that has nothing but shades of gray. Everyone i...more
I feel like it's cliche to say that The Winter of Our Discontent is well-written. If you've taken ninth grade high-school English, I'm confident you've encountered John Steinbeck at least once. There's no doubt he's a fantastic writer. Of Mice of Men or East of Eden, anyone?

However, The Winter of Our Discontent was not as fluid as Of Mice and Men nor did it possess the sheer strength in characterization or plot as East of Eden. It may be my underdeveloped adolescent mind at work here, but I foun...more
Adam Floridia
East of Eden was 600 some-odd pages and I didn't want it to end. This didn't reach 300 and it could not end soon enough. There was just nothing good about this; I can’t believe this is a Steinbeck work. Moreover, not the work of a budding author still perfecting his craft, but an author who was in the winter of his profession, having already penned Of Mice and Men, Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and countless other works.

The story is about Ethan Hawley, a man of noble ancestry reduced to a groce...more
It's a little difficult to put into words how this book made me feel. It's a short book so I thought I'd fly through it in a day or two. Instead, it took a couple of weeks to finish. It was not because I was overly busy or because my mind was drifting or that I was distracted by...ooh! shiny! It was mainly because Steinbeck put so many layers upon layers of depth and feeling into each of his superbly crafted sentences that I could have made baklava with them.

I found this story extremely timely c...more
Feb 27, 2014 Fewlas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fewlas by: Gabriele
Shelves: americana
”Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York”

È rivelatore il fatto che Ethan Allen Hawley, sole tramontato e figlio di New Baytown (questa la potenza dei pun del bardo), canti questi due versi subito dopo aver portato a termine l’”inganno” nei confronti dell’amico Danny. Perché con questi versi Ethan si rivela per quello che è: un Riccardo III. Con quei versi il sovrano svela da subito l’invidia nei confronti del fratello appena salito al trono, e rivela anche la...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sono forse io?

[Questo è un romanzo da maneggiare con cura, perché contiene materiale esplosivo.
A vent'anni non lo capisci.
A trenta ti insinua sotto la pelle un malessere strisciante.
Alla mia età ti schianta.]

Se non avessi letto poco meno di un mese fa Viaggio con Charley, non avrei potuto immaginare quanto John Steinbeck amasse Sinclair Lewis.
Se non avessi saputo quanto John Steinbeck amasse Sinclair Lewis, forse non avrei colto sin dall'inizio le analogie con Babbitt, e non avrei riconosciuto i...more
Published the year before Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in 1962, The Winter of Our Discontent has often been undeservedly scorned by critics as his most lackluster effort. Set in the summer in a fictional New England town, this timeless story tells the tale of Ethan Allen Hawley, descendant of a well-to-do family, who now finds himself working as a shop clerk in the very store he once owned. Father, husband, and man of impeccable integrity, Hawley struggles to maintain his pride while providing...more
Shakespeare , Kafka , Steinbeck .L’elenco potrebbe continuare e comprendere altri meravigliosi custodi , uomini indulgenti con il resto delle umane genti.
Ho scritto custodi , non scrittori , drammaturghi o poeti perché questi artisti della parola sono soprattutto i benevoli custodi del significato più profondo della legge che governa l’uomo e il suo agire.
Se il legame con il bardo è evidente , non solo nel titolo ma anche in una sottile linea rossa che congiunge Riccardo III e il protagonista di...more
Why do I even bother reading another author? Always in the nick of time I pick up a Steinbeck novel and it is a relief to read carefully and beautifully constructed sentences again. And the dialogue! This story delivered all the things I love and need from Steinbeck. As usual, it had me scribbling its sentences in my journal so that I may remember them and repeat them as my own. But I never will. I do not have it in me to summon these perfect, wise, funny things to say when they would be most ef...more
Jul 08, 2008 Tori rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: St John's students from New England
Steinbeck wrote a very perceptive book on a very boring topic. There were parts of this book that I enjoyed, but for the most part I really had to force myself to keep reading. The slow pace, the cynical attitude towards American life, and the confusing dialogue among many other things made this a difficult novel to finish.

Steinbeck is definitely not my style and the most valuable lesson learned from this experience is that I can use his works as a very effective and all-natural sleep-aid.
Carac Allison

"The Winter of our Discontent" is rarely discussed when readers talk of John Steinbeck's literary achievements. It was the last novel he wrote and it was so different from his established style that it just doesn't come to mind when thinking of the Salinas Sage.

Ethan is the protagonist. He grew up rich but has fallen on hard times. He works as a lowly clerk at a grocer's. Ethan wants to be a good father and husband, a man of truth and morality. But his family is bitter. They resent the impoveris...more
Luís Miguel
Grande parte do espírito americano que tanto aprecio está aqui, como refere Steinbeck. Perfeitamente imbuído da sua sensibilidade para penetrar no coração da América dos americanos, de lá retirando tanto de bom como de mau. Neste Inverno, a pressão social sobre o "self-made man" recai sobre o genuíno Ethan Allen Hawley. Filho de burgueses, mas caixeiro de mercearia, Ethan é posto à prova pela comunidade mais ambiciosa da sua smalltown e a sua estatura moral conhece então o caminho da degeneração...more
Megan Li
I was drawn to this book due to the remarkable timeliness of its subject matter. Its time has now come and Steinbeck, like all truly great writers, could be seen as a kind of prophet for writing it in the early '60s. Unlike his other great novels, notably East of Eden, this book does not play out on an epic scale with a large cast of characters. It focuses solely on the internal world of Ethan Allen Hawley, a grocery clerk in a small town on the new england coast. Ethan is the descendant of an o...more

تحذير: قد تكون تلك المراجعة كاشفة لجزء كبير من أحداث الرواية

أنهيت الرواية منذ حوالي ٢٠ دقيقة، وترددت في أن أُعلن هذا على الجودريدز لتدخل الرواية ضمن كتبي المقروءة ... ترددت بسبب حيرتي في كيفية كتابة مراجعة تليق بهذه الرواية الإستثنائية

هي رواية من كلاسيكيات الأدب الأمريكي ... ومن أكثر ما قرأت تأثيرا في نفسي

تتناول الرواية حياة سليل إحدى الأسر ذات المال والجاه والتي علا إسمها نتيجة قيامها ببعض أعمال "القرصنة المشروعة!" لصالح الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية في أثناء الحرب العالمية الثانية بجانب قيام سفنه
Despite it's rather odd opening, The Winter Of Our Discontent held my interest. It is the story of a man, Ethan Hawley, and his family, his good wife, Mary, his son, Allan, his daughter, Ellen. It's a story of the conflict between ambition and honesty. Ethan has always found himself to be a good man, a just man, an honest man. A man who plays by the rules.

Ethan comes from a legacy, a family with a long history in the area. He's as "established" as he can be. But he's not wealthy. Not anymore. Hi...more
Kirk Smith
I really enjoyed this, it was such a good time, and then the ending failed to match the quality of the rest of the book. **I still recommend it as one of Steinbeck's better ones**. Our author always loves a good pirate theme counterpoised against Puritan guilt. Once I realized where this book was going I was elated to find old Steinbeck was nearly trotting out a hard-boiled crime thriller. Internal dialogue (all dialogue) by the principal character was witty and brilliant. What enjoyment!! I wa...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

This is the last one of John Steinbeck's novels, published the year before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. I have now read all of his novels in order of publication from The Grapes of Wrath, 1939, forward. Someday I will go back and read his earlier novels but for the purposes of My Big Fat Reading Project I am done with Steinbeck.

With the exception of The Pearl, I have quite liked and sometimes loved these novels. Steinbeck, during his lifetime, was plagued by dismissive if not do...more
An interesting and effervescent novel. The central topic in this book regards an idea which appeals to me- whether it is more possible to succeed in life wholeheartedly following ethical morals or on the pretext of following some given morals, rather than completely coasting along a highway of profligacy and lunacy. Apart from the protagonist, who appears to shift gears between the three aforementioned modes all throughout the plotline, there is a complete set of male and female characters surro...more
While not a typical Steinbeck novel, I enjoyed this book. I'm used to Steinbeck capturing the depression era diaspora. The Winter of Our Discontent is a much more contemporary novel (set in the early 1960's). It had much more familiar themes (familiar to modern readers) - capitalism, consumerism, the tension between religion and modern secularism. The books narrator is complicated. He comes from old money, but, because of some errors on his father's part, has lost it and works as a grocery store...more
الرواية بطيئة السرد للاحداث وقليلة الاحداث رغم ان الرواية تقريبا 382 بترجمة سميرة عزام الا انها قليلة الاحداث وتأخذ من القارء نفس طويل بالنسبة لي
فهي ثاني رواية استغرق بقراءتها وقت طويل بعد رواية الصخب والعنف

النقطة الاساسية والمحور الاساسي للاحداث يدور حول عدم قدرة ايثان هو موظف مخلص وفي لزوجته وبيته وطفليه على تحديد اهدافه والسعي اليها لوقوعه تحت وطأة النزاع النفسي العميق بين مثاليته وبين عجزه عن ايتاء زوجته المهووسة بملاحقة اصحاب المال والتجار مما افقده الشعور بالرضا تجاه ما قد يكون عليه الحال...more
Now I understand why Steinbeck is considered a great writer. I'd read Grapes of Wrath years ago but read it more from a political/sociological perspective than a literary one. With The Winter of our Discontent, which I "read" on CD, I was so impressed by how he built characters with such distinctive voices,and how he evoked a particular American era with a plot in which little happens externally but much happens internally in the protagonist. I can't put my finger on what it is about Steinbeck's...more
Not Steinbeck's best work, but a very enjoyable read with a message that is even more relevant today than when he wrote it.

I found the constant barrage of pet names Ethan used for his wife Mary to be silly and annoying. Maybe there was a message there about superficiality. I'm not sure.

I also thought Ethan's final decision seemed pretty rushed. I would have liked to see at least a few more paragraphs as he contemplates what he found in his pocket and what it meant to him.

Nonetheless, this was on...more
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Ending 6 109 Oct 06, 2013 05:44PM  
Im confused about the very end of the book (SPOILER ALERT) 5 79 Jun 18, 2013 08:11PM  
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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...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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“I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen.” 1992 likes
“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” 1281 likes
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