Small intelligent George and giant simple Lennie arrive at an ranch in California in the 1930s depression. Not much happens for theIt's an odd book.
Small intelligent George and giant simple Lennie arrive at an ranch in California in the 1930s depression. Not much happens for the next 100 pages or so (the book is only 120 pages), and suddenly there's a killer, powerful ending and it's all over.
Steinbeck's language is simple, his sentences short - it's almost a children's book in terms of its structure. But under that simplicity is a wealth of adult themes - loyalty, revenge, loneliness and desperation of trapped lives. Of those, its the loneliness that comes out the most: The black character living in a barn because of his skin colour, the woman in a loveless marriage, the old dog a man refuses to have put down, George and Lennie's dreams of a better life.
Most of the characters are only flat cutouts, given no backstories. It makes them very two dimensional and most of the time, we simply don't care about them; we know nothing of what's going on in their heads in the brief time we know them. One character doesn't even have a name.
The only two fleshed out characters are George and Lennie, and it's when the book works the best when the two of them are interacting.
Which bring us to the ending. The first time I read it, I cried, and it's still as poignant and powerful the second time around.
And it's the ending that rescues the book from losing most of it's stars - otherwise, this would have been a tale of almost nothing, told with simple sentences and quickly forgotten....more
On a trip to Cornwall in 1999, I walked from St Austell to Fowey, passing - without realising it - Menabilly (Manderley) and the cabin and the beach mOn a trip to Cornwall in 1999, I walked from St Austell to Fowey, passing - without realising it - Menabilly (Manderley) and the cabin and the beach mentioned in the book.
I didn't realise what they were until I read this a few years later, so it was a strange surprise to see it so accurately described. (As well as walking right past the original setting for The Birds...). I had no idea Daphne Du Maurier lived so close to where I was walking.
I think Rebecca is the only book I've ever read where a living character is more of a ghost than a dead one. The narrator is never named other than 'the second Mrs DeWinter' and is almost transparent, hidden by the long and dark shadow of Rebecca.
It's a book I keep meaning to pick up again now I know a little more about it and I know what I'm getting into. It passed into my head and then out again pretty quickly, much as the second Mrs DeWinter does, leaving only shadows....more
I was thinking about trying my hand at writing a few years ago, and at the library where my wife worked, they had a copy of OW. I dipped into it whileI was thinking about trying my hand at writing a few years ago, and at the library where my wife worked, they had a copy of OW. I dipped into it while I waited for her to finish work, then dipped into it again...and again...
Eventually I borrowed it and read it cover to cover.
Then I bought a copy and read it cover to cover.
Then I started writing. Uncle Steve gave me the confidence to start, the confidence to know that everyone sucks when they start, everyone struggles. But he said, in warm words, almost whispering in my ear: "Do it anyway."
And here I am, short stories still coming at regular intervals, four books under my belt and most of the way through a fifth. Killing all those adverbs, leaving my manuscripts for six weeks until I pick them up again.
So thank you to Mr King. Thank you for finding the right buttons to push to get me started and for giving me the confidence to continue. Stephen King must have been one hell of a teacher when it was his day job.