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The Long Valley

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,423 ratings  ·  143 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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Unlike Steinbeck's other short story collection, The Pastures of Heaven, this book lacks thematic unity. First published in 1938, many of the stories in the collection had been published previously. The stories differ widely in tone and subject matter, from the rather creepy "The Snake", to the prize-winning "The Murder", to the four stories which make up "The Red Pony".

What the stories share is their Salinas Valley location, wonderfully descriptive prose, unsentimental depiction of the beauty
Henry Martin
I came to John Steinbeck's The Long Valley in the heels of his excellent novella, The Moon is Down. Not having read any of Steinbeck's writing for years, there was just something soothing about his prose that made me reach for another work of his. I must say that I was not disappointed.

The Long Valley is a collection of ten short stories, published in 1938. The stories are:

The Chrysanthemums
The White Quail
The Snake
The Raid
The Harness
The Vigilante
Johnny Bear
The Murder

At 186 pages
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
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
Poe Bird
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
Paula Dembeck
This is a collection of twelve short stories Steinbeck wrote over several years. It was published in 1938 and includes “The Red Pony” which was also published later as a separate book. Most of these stories had originally appeared in magazines.
Although the entire collection has no single over arching theme, it does focus on the people and lives of those living in the Salinas Valley in California where Steinbeck was born, and the tales were inspired by his childhood home and its surroundings. On
Alexander Arsov
John Steinbeck

The Long Valley

Book-of-the-Month Club, Hardback, 1995.

8vo. 303 pp.

First published, 1938.


The Chrysanthemums [October 1937, Harper’s Magazine]
The White Quail [March 1935, North American Review]
The Snake [June 22, 1935, Monterey Beacon]
Breakfast [November 9, 1936, Pacific Weekly]
The Raid [October 1934, North American Review]
The Harness [June 1938, Atlantic Monthly]
The Vigilante [October 1936, Esquire, as “The Lonesome Vigilante”]
Johnny Bear [September 1937, Esquire, “
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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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
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
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
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.

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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
by Ax
Seminando racconti

Serie di racconti in cui Steinbeck — ancora una volta — riesce a seminare con grazia parole cariche di intensità.
A mio avviso, la seconda parte — da "Il cavallino rosso" in avanti — si fa più emozionante. Qui l'autore sfodera punte di drammaticità per veicolare un notevole senso di comunione umana, senso che su di me ha sempre un benefico influsso.
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
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.
Includes the stories:
- The Chrysanthemums
- The White Quail
- Flight
- The Snake
- Breakfast
- The Raid
- The Harness
- The Vigilante
- Johnny Bear
- The Murder
- Saint Katy the Virgin
- The Red Pony (The Great Mountains, The Promise, The Leader of the People)

All of the stories have an uneasiness to them that make me want to either turn away or really think about the characters motivations.
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.
I listened to the audiobook on a long trip--probably not the best way to enjoy these stories. I was tired and I'm not sure I got the point of some stories, though I admired the writing style. My favorites were "The Chrysanthemums," "Flight," "Johnny Bear," and "The Red Pony."
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  • John Steinbeck, Writer
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  • The Complete Stories
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  • Collected Stories
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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...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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