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The Winter of Our Discontent

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  30,790 Ratings  ·  1,520 Reviews
A beautifully rendered exploration of the downfall of a good man.
Ethan Hawley, a descendant of a proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant. His wife is restless; his teenages children are troubled and discontent, hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral cris
Paperback, 311 pages
Published June 24th 1982 by Penguin Books (first published 1961)
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Community Reviews

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Meghan Pinson
Aug 03, 2008 Meghan Pinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Feb 12, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent was first published in 1961 and was his last novel.

It was also the latest book published prior to his winning the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature. Interestingly, when asked if he felt that he deserved the award, this “giant of American letters” said: “Frankly, no.” Further, recent archives revealed that Steinbeck was a “compromise choice” for the award amidst a group described as “a bad lot”. Although the committee believed Steinbeck's best work was behin
Richard Derus
Dec 18, 2011 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 6* of five

The Publisher Says: Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of Steinbeck’s last novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With Ethan no longer a member of Long Island’s aristocratic class, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.

Set in Steinbeck’s contemporary 1960 America
Joe Valdez
May 20, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
I was forwarded a blog post recently (written by someone much sharper than me) that asked where our contemporary John Steinbecks have gone. The masterful fiction dedicated to the minimum wage worker, the family displaced by the Great Recession living out of a motel room, or anyone living from paycheck to paycheck seems largely extinct from the bestseller lists.

Hard luck stories about average American families fill newspapers, while in fiction, it seems like world building, not world reporting,
The brilliance of John Steinbeck intimidates me. I spend a great deal of my time while reading his books nodding my head in agreement and gasping in awe at how he tackles the profound and the everyday with the same amount of elan.

First off, I enjoyed this story. I cared about Ethan Allen Hawley, and not just his person but his soul. I wanted him to emerge unscathed even though I knew he could not, because no one can compromise his own morality and remain unsoiled. I cried for what I knew was his
Dec 11, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

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
Oct 02, 2007 Del rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
William S.
Jan 01, 2013 William S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 02, 2008 Marsha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Floridia
Jun 24, 2012 Adam Floridia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star-books
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
I adore Steinbeck's writing. Simple lines which all readers can relate to. Philosophical content, but never laid on thick. It is difficult to convey the feeling Steinbeck creates with his words, so I give you a few lines instead:

It sounds uncomfortable and silly sitting cross-legged in a niche like a blinking Buddha, but someway the stone fits me or I fit. Maybe I have been going there so long my behind as conformed to the stones. As for its being silly, I don't mind that. Sometimes it is great
Apr 07, 2012 Meghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meghan by: Sera
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
Eti Mishra
Sep 07, 2014 Eti Mishra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
You can read full review here.

“You know how advice is – you only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyways.”

This book is beautiful, and that is some great writing right there. Steinbeck is what I would like to call a true literary genius. I haven’t read his other books and this is the first one, but already I’m his admirer. I think this is a finely crafted book.

As I read this book, I came across many little but profound messages, throughout the book, and they were easy to deciphe
Oct 01, 2007 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  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

كم من الناس نظرت إليهم دون أن أراهم

المال لا يُبدل المرض ، ولكن يبدل أعراضه فقط

أنت أعمي مثلي ، إلا أن نوع عماك يختلف عن عمايّ

لقد انقرضت القرصنة ، لكن يبدو أن دوافعها لم تمت

إذا أردت الاحتفاظ بصديق ، فلا تجربه

إذا ملكت جوهرة ، فلا تسرف في تلميعها ، حتي لا تتأكل من معجون التلميع

لقد عشت مع هذه الرواية شهراً تقريباً ..

وهي في نسختها العربية 367 صفحة وقد قرأت فيها الكثير من الاقتباسات الرائعة التي فعلا تستحق التوقف عندها

استطاع جون شتاينبك أن يقدم رواية غريبة قليلاً عن المعتاد ، فأنت تعي
Nona Buzhgulashvili
ვახ, პატარა წიგნია,ვიფიქრე მალეც დავასრულებ მეთქი. მაგრამ არა, საკმაოდ გამიგრძელდა კითხვა. თუმცა არა იმიტომ,რომ არ მეცალა ან მეზარებოდა.უბრალოდ არ მინდოდა მორჩენილიყო.
სიამოვნებაა ეს ადამიანი
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
Jenny (adultishbooks)
2.5 Stars

I consider myself a Steinbeck fan but I definitely did not like this one as much as his other work.

I found this book to be a departure from his earlier work and it lacks the charm and endearing quality of his novels from the beginning of his career. I found this painfully boring although it did interesting things with the exploration of themes of America and its descending morality. I couldn't get into it and did not connect to the characters. I felt no sympathy to Ethan Hawley at all.
Jul 15, 2015 Gearóid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just love all Steinbecks writing.
He seems to have deeply studied human nature and
portrays it in his incredible stories with remarkable
characters in a very philosophical way.
Good stuff!
Jun 08, 2017 Argos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Muhteşem bir eser daha. Çok akıcı, sağlam bir kurgu, felsefi yanı da var, hayatın içinden yanı da. Deneysel edebiyat, postmodern edebiyat, yeraltı edebiyatı, vd..... Hepsinin yeri farklı, her biri ayrı iddia ve tat sahibi. Adı ister gerçekçi edebiyat, ister klasik ister çağdaş edebiyat, isterse başka bir isimde edebiyat olsun, benim için J. Steinbeck, E. Hemingway, J. London ve Y. Kemal'in içinde olduğu edebiyat çok farklı bir yerde. Edebiyatın alfabesini bu yazarlarla öğrenmekte yarar var.
Luís Miguel
Jan 25, 2014 Luís Miguel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2013 gillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
DNF--sorry! Maybe I'll give it another try sometime. Anyone else who wants to, go ahead, and I hope you enjoy it more.

Best wishes.
Stefania T.
Dec 13, 2013 Stefania T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Quando fu salita nel bagno, misi il biglietto in tasca. E ancora non sapevo. Accade mai che uno conosca più della scorza esterna del suo prossimo? “Come sei Mary, dentro? Mi senti, Mary?..Come sei, dentro?”

Ho procrastinato a lungo l’incontro con Steinbeck per una questione di suoni: s-t-e-i-n-b-e-c-k mi ha sempre spaventata ed inchiodata, con le sue vocali acerbe e militari, rigorose, rigide come l’inverno russo. Quando poi lessi Pian della Tortilla che, nonostante le fondamenta amare, ancora
Anamaria Koridze
ჩემს სიყვარულ წიგნებს რომ ვხედავ ხოლმე შეუფასებელს, თვითმკვლელობამდე მივდივარ.
ჯერ იქიდან დავიწყოთ, ეს წიგნი რომ ძალიან ბევრმა სასწაულმა ადამიანმა მირჩია, მერე რაღაც სხვაც მაკავშირებს ამ წიგნთან-ყოველ შემთხვევაში ბოლო 2 თვეა ეგრეა, ჩემს დამოკიდებულებას ამერიკული ლიტერატურის მიმართ ხო არც არასდროს ვმალავდი. ჰო კიდე სტაინბეკი აქ სულ სხვანაირია, ამ ნაწარმოების წაკითხვამდეც ვიცნობდი, მაგრამ ეს რომ დავამთავრე, მერე მივხვდი-ზამთრის კაცია სტაინბეკი❤
სევდა უნდა იყოს ასეთი ლამაზი. ითენი კიდე საოცარი ვინმე
Dec 13, 2013 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A detta di alcuni commenti letti qua e là nel web, "L'inverno del nostro scontento", che prende il nome da una citazione di Shakespeare, non è il miglior libro di Steinbeck, ma per quanto mi riguarda è una delle sue opere migliori.
Qui Steinbeck si allontana per un attimo dal periodo della Grande Depressione ponendo al centro i dubbi, gli interrogativi che assillano un uomo. Steinbeck pone al suo protagonista un dubbio amletico: essere fedeli ai propri obiettivi o affidarsi al Dio denaro che tut
Jul 25, 2014 Jake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.

It's official. Steinbeck is my favorite author. Next time you ask me, I swear that's what I'll stick with. This is a story about Ethan Hawley. He's a lowly grocery store clerk, who once owned the store. Everyone thinks he's a bum for having no ambition and for being content with what he does have; a family, self respect, ideals, morals. The Man finally gets him down and he buys into the American Dream, meanin
Jessica Weil
The Winter of Our Discontent is a brutally pessimistic commentary on the American Dream and the lengths to which one must go to attain success.

Ethan Hawley, a small-town grocery store clerk, is known for being a decent man of virtue. Under pressure from his family and those around him to gain wealth and status, he convinces himself to take a brief hiatus from his morals. As he rationalizes:

"In business and in politics a man must maul his way through men to get to be King of the Mountain. Once th
Feb 06, 2011 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

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
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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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“I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen.” 6063 likes
“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” 2029 likes
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