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The Pearl

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  126,615 Ratings  ·  5,142 Reviews
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon." With the pearl come ...more
Paperback, 90 pages
Published May 24th 1990 by Mandarin (first published 1947)
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Duane Well... I think nowadays we're supposed to apply situational ethics here, aren't we? To wit... :

If Steinbeck was a Liberal, we're supposed to excuse…more
Well... I think nowadays we're supposed to apply situational ethics here, aren't we? To wit... :

If Steinbeck was a Liberal, we're supposed to excuse him by saying that"he was a man of his time", (like Woodrow Wilson belonging to the KKK, etc.).

But if he was a Conservative, then we're supposed to immediately write him off completely as being a racist sexist bigoted homophobe, etc.

Did I get that right? My PC-Ometer hasn't been calibrated recently so it may be a little rusty...
Julie Edwards Definitely. That's when I originally read it and now, over a decade later, it's still one of my favorite short(er) stories.
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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
Nov 27, 2014 Dolors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers of pearls of wisdom instead of riches
Recommended to Dolors by: A bookseller in Monterey
Shelves: read-in-2014
“They had made songs to the fishes, to the sea in anger and to the sea in calm, to the light and the dark and the sun and the moon, and the songs were all in Kino and in his people – every song that had ever been made, even the ones forgotten.”

Can you hear it?
A melody shrouded in ancestral mystery can be heard amidst the roaring waves lapping at the shores of this pulsating narration. Summoning songs of despair and songs of hope, soothing lullabies and wrathful incantations, this folkloric tale
Nov 09, 2011 Mario rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

Read it and philosophize while you read it and weep.

Sometimes I have to wonder what the people who write the back blurbs of these books are thinking (or smoking). The back says "THE PEARL is a book to be read many times and cherished forever." What they're talking about, I can't imagine. If you choose to get pissed over and over again, then by all means keep reading this tragic story.

I get what Steinbeck is saying in his beautiful writing voice - to be content with what is had and to not let th
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
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
Oct 20, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Aj the Ravenous Reader

This is one of the first novels I have ever read. The story is simple but very genuine. The plot is interesting and the messages the story contains are timeless and universal. It is also a very quick read.
Mar 01, 2016 Kaya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Steinbeck's book I've read, though it won't be the last, despite the horrible first impression. I hate everything in this book - from it's anticlimactic writing to it's incommodious characters. There is nothing worth praise in here. After reading I was so angry and ready to punch something.

Poor Indian, who lives in the South America with wife and a baby, finds giant pearl, decides to sell it and then use the money to buy medicine for his child, who just got bitten by a scorpio
Jan 22, 2016 Joca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

No Verão passado cheguei a levar este livrinho (que tem 79 páginas, menos do que pensava) comigo para a praia mas nunca o cheguei a ler o que foi uma pena porque seria uma experiência ainda melhor visto que a história se passa nesse ambiente e temos descrições fantásticas das paisagens e da natureza no geral.

Gostei imenso disso e da escrita do autor (já tinha lido o Ratos e Homens e achei o mesmo). É mais simples do que esperava mas sem deixar de ser poética, bonita e cativante.
E depois há v
Cathrine ☯
Apr 05, 2016 Cathrine ☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a sense of adventure
This short novella (90 pages) brings to mind the biblical parable of The Pearl Of Great Price. Like the parables, the telling juxtaposes contrasting motifs of good and evil and what defines them or makes them so. How sudden wealth can corrupt depending on one’s choices, needs, or morals. Is it better to let things be or risk irreperable change for possible transformation or benefit? The reader has much to ponder throughout the pages which turn beautifully. I could hear the sounds of water, sme
Steinbeck's tragic novella is about a poor pearl diver, Kino, and what happens to him and his family after he finds "the pearl of the world". This great pearl should bring incredible wealth to it's owner, but the ways of the world are not set to benefit Kino which he quickly learns. This book is likable and easy to read, even for people who are not generally fond of Steinbeck's writing, I would think.
Shannon (leaninglights)
Greed is a dangerous thing.
Heba Nouraldeen
Feb 29, 2016 Heba Nouraldeen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ارمها بعيداً يا كينو...دعنا نحطمها بالأحجار ..قم بنسيانها...
دعنا نُرميها ثانية إلى البحر ..سوف تُدمرنا
هنالك شيطان يقبع في اللؤلؤة...

تُري احقاً كان شيطان يقبع بها..؟
أم كان هؤلاء المحتالون والمخادعون الذين يحيطون ب" كينو" هم من يتمثل الشيطان بهم؟
وكيف يرميها بعيداً وقد رأى على سطحها جميع أحلامه وإنها فرصته الوحيدة في أن يذهب ابنه إلى المدرسة يوماً ويتعلم القراءة ويكسر ذاك المستنقع الذي رُيط فيه والداه...
ما نظنه سيكون سبب سعادتنا يكون هو السبيل الذي نسلكه لتعاستنا وشقاءنا...
هل كان عليه أن يتخلى ع
Eric Boot
Why are my English teachers so fond of this book? This seriously is the second time I have to read it and go through everything again. WHY IS THIS BOOK A CLASSIC? It's so cliche and boring and definitely not unique.
Nov 09, 2007 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 16, 2015 Gautam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another deeply moving novella from Steinbeck. A great read.

4.5 stars rounded down to 4!


This novel will make you think way less of those beautiful luminescent balls of sand and oyster spit.

Kino, an impoverished but plucky native who makes a living diving for pearls off the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. He lives with his wife Juana and his son Coyotito who unfortunately gets stung by a scorpion. Juana calls for the doctor, who has very particular requirements for his patients—namely, that they have lots of cash. Kino and Juana go to the doctor’s house anywa
Nov 14, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

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
Mar 23, 2016 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Qué hermoso libro. Una historia sencilla, narrada en forma clara, sin rodeos ni términos difíciles. Steinbeck logra atraparme siempre con sus libros. Al igual que como con "De Ratones y Hombres", "La Perla" nos muestra una historia en donde apreciamos la naturaleza humana al desnudo, las emociones a flor de piel en situaciones límites. No he leído "Las Uvas de la Ira" ni "Al Este del Edén", pero siento que Steinbeck es poderoso en este tipo de novelas cortas. En este libro todo gira alrededor de ...more
A scorpion stings a baby and the parents take him to a doctor. They don't have enough to pay so the doctor refuses. The dad goes to the river to look for a pearl and finds The Pearl of the World. This pearl becomes the object of tragedy. Steinbeck may conflict with some modern readers but for literary and classic lovers his writing brings great pleasure. His descriptions and choice of words amazes the mind. He writes as if he tells a legendary story to a family knowing it for centuries. He calls ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, read-2013
This short, but powerful Steinbeck novella is packed with emotion and many topics for a great bookclub discussion. Greed, violence, and evildoers progress along to a (view spoiler)
Nov 19, 2014 Miguel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Não precisei de submergir nas profundezas do oceano para aceder à obra A Pérola . Ainda não existem bibliotecas debaixo de água salgada. Se assim fosse, pobres e infelizes criaturas marinhas que teriam de relacionar-se com a babugem que sobeja na terra. (sejamos caridosos…)

A Pérola é um livro que, mal manuseado, pode provocar interpretações subversivas e erradas.
Se algum dia virem alguém a usar uma pérola como adorno, espanquem-na e acusem-na de fomentadora de objectos corruptos. Patranh
Jason Koivu
Mar 14, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Wayne Barrett
Jan 27, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2016


I don't know why, but I was not prepared for how much I enjoyed this novella. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, this is Steinbeck!

Kino, a Mexican native, finds 'the pearl of the world' off the coast of his little village and his world is about to change. The discovery of this pearl was comparable to one of us winning the lottery and I thought it amusing that the first visitor that he got after striking it big was the church.

For a novella, 97 pages, The Pearl is a powerhouse of emotion. T
Feb 22, 2016 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During 1940 Steinbeck, along with his friend Ed Ricketts, set sail for six weeks. The two traveled from "Monterey up the west shore of the Gulf of California to Angeles Bay and then across to Puerto San Carlos east and south to Agiabampo Estuary." The result of their travels being Steinbeck's and Ricketts' Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research.

After a night of beers with natives of La Paz on the Isla Espiritu Santo, Steinbeck and Ricketts' were invited to check out the town
Feb 04, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2007 Darren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 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.” 126 likes
“Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.” 54 likes
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