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The Winter of Our Discontent

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  40,039 ratings  ·  2,255 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Penguin Classics (first published 1961)
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Brenda Rae Go to page 21 at this web site.

Apparently he's talking about a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. In the …more
Go to page 21 at this web site.

Apparently he's talking about a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. In the story a king shares his secret thoughts while speaking into a well.(less)
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Meghan Pinson
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 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 rated it really liked it
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
Henry Avila
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Steinbeck's last novel and it shows when an author pontificates his views to the readers he becomes not a writer anymore but a preacher. Disappointed in life Steinbeck tries to convey his dark feelings to the rest of the world even if they aren't too interested...there are many others, nevertheless a great novel which few scribblers could match. Ethan Allen Hawley (named after famous Revolutionary War hero) has a comfortable but ordinary existence a loving , loyal , pretty wife Mary two tro ...more
Richard Derus
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Vit Babenco
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
“And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!” Matthew 27:29
A man will rise… A man will fall…
The Winter of Our Discontent is about guilty conscience.
The Winter of Our Discontent is about the nature of fortune and misfortune.
Now I was on the edge of the minefield. My heart hardened against my selfless benefactor. I felt it harden and grow wary and dangerous.
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Joe Valdez
May 20, 2014 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,
William S.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 11, 2012 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
Adam Floridia
Jun 24, 2012 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
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Evanescence of Morality

Maybe it's my age where I find myself amidst a thousand questions because I like to think that I am understanding a little of what goes around. And as it goes with books, the count of unanswered questions is on an exponential run. Anyway, the most prominent and adamant question I find myself wrestle with these days is 'Morality'. The realms of it, the undefined criss cross intersecting patterns of it, the lawlessness and sometimes the hypocritical pride of it, and last
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't pass this one up in your choosing which Steinbeck book to consume my hungry rabble. I had no expectations of this wonderful little story and now it is one of my favorites. Give yourself for a few hours for there is much to take from Ethan and all Steinbeck's creation. Crestfallen to come to it's end, as it is with most of his work. “Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this son of York…”  ...more
Oct 02, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story. So well told. It’s story telling at its absolute best.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Oct 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the last one of John Steinbeck's novels, published the year before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. I have now read all of his novels in order of publication from The Grapes of Wrath, 1939, forward. Someday I will go back and read his earlier novels but for the purposes of My Big Fat Reading Project I am done with Steinbeck.

With the exception of The Pearl, I have quite liked and sometimes loved these novels. Steinbeck, during his lifetime, was plagued by dismissive if not do
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
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
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! My head is reeling. I spent half of this novel in suspense, almost holding my breath, hoping that everything would turn out OK. The Winter of Our Discontent revolves around Ethan Hawley, a Harvard educated descendant of a wealthy family, who works as a grocery clerk to support his wife and two children. He is complex and fascinating - likable, flippant and so very frustrating.

Nobody in the small Long Island town of New Baytown is quite what they seem, and the lines between right and wrong
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2018, for-kindle
It’s weird that this book seems to be among people’s least favorite Steinbeck novels. What gives? In The Winter of our Discontent, Steinbeck once again proves himself a master at the craft of characterization, but whereas in prior novels his protagonists find themselves up against a litany of circumstances beyond their control (but which ultimately dictate their fate), his star character here is a little more sinister. Not to say that this isn’t a fatalistic novel, because it is, but certainly E ...more
Dillwynia Peter
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I do feel a little sorry for Steinbeck: this book was not appreciated by the majority of the reading public at publication, but took until after Watergate for it to sink in. I find this somewhat strange – the Anti-American Dream novel was not a new thing, not even for Steinbeck. I have read Cheever & Yates now to know that this kind of novel was there. Even Steinbeck had written books Like The Grapes Of Wrath and Of Mice & Men, so the territory wasn’t new. I suspect what threw the reading public ...more
Reading Badger
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Steinbeck’s way of writing. It just kind of flows, these are no humps and before you know it, you’re at the end of the book.
This one follows Ethan, once part of the aristocracy of Long Island, now working as a clerk in a grocery shop, after his father loses the family fortune. At first, it seemed that he is quite content with his life. He has a wife that he adores, Mary, and two kids, a girl, and a boy. He struggles to keep his moral values, but the constant criticism of his family and fr
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 decip
Jan 21, 2013 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
Jul 15, 2015 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!
Diane S ☔
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Review soon.
Alan Cotterell
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019, ib
Review to follow
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Houston County Pu...: January~February 2021 The Winter of Our Discontent 1 4 Jan 05, 2021 11:49AM  
Goodreads România: Decembrie 2019: Iarna vrajbei noastre, de John Steinbeck ( 3.75⭐ din 4 ✔) 39 93 Dec 25, 2019 11:30PM  
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Im confused about the very end of the book (SPOILER ALERT) 7 252 Nov 13, 2018 03:47PM  

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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

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