The Long Valley
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The Long Valley

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,268 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. We have begun publishing his many works for the first time as blackspine Penguin Classics featuring eye-catching, newly commissioned art. This season we continue with the seven spectacular and influential books East of Eden, Cannery R...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1938)
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Joyce Lagow
Steinbeck's works include several collections of short stories, some connected by a discernible narrative thread, others more traditional in organization. The Pastures of Heaven depends on a particular locale with some stories using recurring characters, others not. Tortilla Flat is really a collection of more coherent short stories using a recurring cast of characters in a particular locale rather than the usual "plot." [return][return]The Long Valley is even more loosely organized than The Pas...more
Angie
What can I say about Steinbeck that hasn't already been said (and as eloquently stated, too)?

"He wished he could have been living in the heroic time, but he knew he was not of heroic timber. No one living now, save possibly Billy Buck, was worthy to do the things that had been done. A race of giants had lived then, fearless men, men of a staunchness unknown in this day. Jody thought of the wide plains and of the wagons moving across like centipedes. He thought of Grandfather on a huge white hors...more
Poe Bird
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Kirk
This is our next selection for Thursday, and I'm excited. I love this book so much, both for the depiction of setting and for the characterization. I have a feeling it'll go over well; the students loved both IN OUR TIME and THE OLD ORDER, and Steinbeck has many of the same characteristics. I've already expressed my feelings for "The Red Pony" here, but there's also the classic "The Chrysanthemums" (which I adore even if I can't always spell the title correctly), the underappreciated "Flight," t...more
Tony
Steinbeck, John. THE LONG VALLEY. (1938). ****.
This is a collection of the author’s short stories grouped under this title. It contains thirteen stories which take place in and around the Salinas Valley. If you have ever picked up short story anthologies, you will recognize several of these pieces as being the usual suspects. The stories deal with incidents in the lives of the average farmer or rancher (with the exception of “The Snake”) and try to depict life as it was lived at the time. The m...more
jeremy
a collection of steinbeck's early stories, the long valley is considerably different than his later works, but still contains many of the elements that would make his writing so unique. these stories move at a slower pace than his novels, focusing more on the quiet rhythms of the landscape and the people that inhabit them, rather than the conflicted moralities that mark his epic tales. the stories differ quite a bit from one another, and read as if steinbeck was still exploring varying styles. s...more
Clark
I've read a lot of Steinbeck at this point and this collection of short stories feels like an outlier in the oeuvre. The characters feel darker and less resilient than his normal fare with mixed results. Some of the stories read like juvenilia: the themes that would be treated with more care and depth later are present here, but wooden and mismanaged. On the other hand, there are some real shining lights in the collection as well. "The White Quail" is a beautiful portrait of a marriage and an in...more
Bill S.
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Alan
Terrific Steinbeck book of stories and a novelette (the Red Pony) about country life in the Salinas Valley in the 1930's and 40's. It begins with the a much-anthologized story, The Chysanthemums, which focused on a 35-year old wife of a valley farmer who had a lot of spirit, probably too much to be swallowed up in farm work. A great story was The White Quail, about a woman who was personified by her garden. Other great stories were The Breakfast, a “scene” piece about a non-descript guy having b...more
Jose Moch
My favorite stories were the ones where Steinbeck depicts the lives of sterile (physically and emotionally) women who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, intent on destroying the mental soundness of their poor husbands who have resigned themselves to their head games. Instead of caring for their husbands they devote themselves to their goddamned flowerbeds!
These stories are useful to men when they come across such harpies so they can fend for themselves, knowing beforehand that these wome...more
Stephanie Ricker
In contrast to my bogged-down struggles in Confessions, I raced through The Long Valley by Steinbeck in record time. All of the short(ish) stories in the collection take place in the Salinas Valley, where Steinbeck grew up and where he sets most of his tales, but they’re otherwise unconnected. “The Red Pony” is among this collection, and I distinctly remember picking that book up as a horse-crazy kid. I put it back on the shelf without reading it, for some reason, which is something I never did–...more
Piperitapitta
C'è tutto il mondo a Salinas, Salinas è tutto il mondo.

Doveva pensarla proprio così John Steinbeck che ambienta gran parte della sua produzione letteraria proprio nella valle californiana in cui è nato e vissuto.

Questi racconti, dopo le parziali delusioni di La Santa Rossa, I pascoli del cielo e Al Dio sconosciuto, mi restituiscono finalmente il vero Steinbeck, quello conosciuto e immediatamente amato con Furore.
I dodici racconti ed il dramma Che splendida ardi riassumono in sé tutte le tematich...more
Carolyn Gerk
A lovely book full of lovely stories by John Steinbeck, whose delicate grasp on words and language is nothing short of breathtaking. I'm not sure I have anything to add that hasn't yet been said before. The Long Valley is a collection of stories, some endearing, sweet and charming, others unnerving and disheartening, but all a wealth of humanity.
'A big spotted wildcat was creeping toward the spring, belly to the ground, moving like thought.'
'A gentle pain began to make itself felt in Mike's che...more
Andy
I bought this book in October in Berkeley at Pegasus Books with "Cup Of Gold" and "America And Americans"

The Long Valley is a collection of short stories from Steinbeck that he began writing with The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, but didn't publish as a collection until 1938. Included in The Long Valley are the stories "Saint Katy The Virgin" and "The Red Pony" which have are two of his most popular short stories and were published on their own outside of this volume, as well.

Overall,...more
Joe
John Steinbeck's works find their meaning and action in two places: the setting, and the characters. His short stories only allow him to fully develop one of these, the setting, while filling it in with sketches of characters. Think how well you know Adam by the end of East of Eden, and how much of the plot subsists on the evolution of his person. That's not possibly here; and yet over the arc of these stories, the character of the Salinas Valley itself manages to propel beauty through the pages...more
Ben Laur
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Tamra
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Christopher
Rather than write a critical review of this book or discuss what I thought of it, I want to focus on a particular passage that gave me pause to think and ponder. It is my experience that any book worth reading stirs something within you, makes an indelible impression upon you - whether one of whimsy, sadness, passion, horror, or thoughtful repose. The passage I am referring to is from the Red Pony in which Steinbeck writes: "It would be a dreadful thing to tell anyone about it, for it would dest...more
Sean
Possibly my favorite book. Generally, Steinbeck easy to follow from the get-go and he does not hide the ball at the end. But the magic of Steinbeck is that the stories don't stop there--the longer you mull them over, the more they deliver.

I think "The Red Pony" is the most powerful, and longest piece in the book. If you can't read the whole collection, read these (a set of four)--and compare to Shane, if you're a fan of westerns. Definitely not for the squeamish, but sharply insightful about hu...more
Sarah Sammis
The Long Valley completes my research for Nanowrimo and my participation in the Armchair Challenge. I am so glad I bothered to find a first edition; I loved the book and plan to hold onto it and reread it often.

With the exception of the very silly "St Katy the Virgin" about a reformed pig who can perform miracles, all of the stories take place in the Salinas Valley and in the "present day" (1930s Depression). The book also includes the well known novella, "The Red Pony" which is often times now...more
Adriana
I don't really read short story collections, so I don't really know how this one stacks up when compared to others. The story entitled Flight is reason I picked it up. I remember reading it in high school and for whatever reason, I kept its memory tucked away in my brain for an untold number of years. Sadly, I could not recall it's title, only that it was written by Steinbeck. A few months ago when my husband and I were discussing Steinbeck, I mentioned it, and he also recalled reading it some y...more
Lauren
Steinbeck’s early collection of short stories reveals both the heart of California’s Salinas Valley and it’s premeir author. Like all of Steinbeck’s work, The Long Valley focuses on struggles with identity in relation to the land, and how characters find their true selves in nature (see “The White Quail” and “The Chrysanthemums” especially). Many of the stories are dark and rich, as Steinbeck mines the deepest thoughts of his characters for material.
The capstone of the collection is his famous...more
Mark
This is on my re-read shelf and has been for decades. The first story in this collection, "The Chrysanthemums," was an assignment in one of my literature classes decades ago. It only because I'd read it several times already that I understood the pathos of Elisa Allen.
Joel
I love Steinbeck and short stories, so this one was a good combo. I'd read "The Chrysanthemums" long ago, but most of these were new and great. The "White Quail" was subtle and understated, yet great.
Emily
This is a collection of short stories by John Steinbeck. I enjoy reading Steinbeck for 2 main reasons. First, he write about traditionally suppressed voices (voices of people in poverty, etc) without judgment. Second, he lived and wrote many of his stories about the region of California very close to where I did half of my growing up and where my parents still live.

Before I read "The Long Valley" I was wondering if John Steinbeck writes anything from a woman's perspective. Several of the short...more
Simon
There needs to be a 4 and a half stars, because this deserved a little bit more than 4 stars. Favourite stories were Johnny Bear and The Quail. The Chrysanthemums was pretty good too.
Albert
This a nice collection of Steinbeck short stories as well as the novella, "The Red Pony". I really love the most obviously great story in the collection "The Chrysanthemums" for it's clean descriptive passages and it's matter-of-fact tone, the trademark of Steinbeck's greatest writing as far as I'm concerned. What some feel as self-righteous pontification in his stories, I see as an assured understanding of the human condition from a confident and reliable source. I usually benefit from the insi...more
Clare
Why had I left it so long before returning to John Steinbeck? This book re-established him as one of my favourite authors ever ever after. His writing is so frank and evocative and interesting. The scenarios in this book are so original and strange, as he always will be. His views on things are so clear and he puts them across so well.
You know, the first two stories could totally have been written by a woman.
Some of the stories are creepy, some are terrifying and some are beautiful, one is quit...more
Jeffrey Bumiller
An incredible collection of Steinbeck's short stories. "The Chrysanthemums" "The Snake" and "The White Quail" are among the best short stories I've ever encountered.

Steinbeck is so fantastic at character development. I felt his characters with me everywhere during the course of reading this book.

And then there is The Red Pony which is also included in this book. Wow. What an amazing piece of writing. I have always kind of passed on reading The Red Pony because of its innocuous title, but wow.....more
Andrea
I somehow missed reading this collection before now. Some stories are gorgeous and amazing, like "Chrysanthemum" and "The Harness" and "The Red Pony" novella (which I first read as a child and is how I fell in love with Steinbeck), but others don't work at all and are really rough, with poor craft, like "The Snake." It is actually a wonderful thing to see the beginnings of such a great writer, and how he developed his craft. For instance, the woman in "The Snake" seems to have the same seed of c...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...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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