The Grapes Of Wrath (Penguin Group)
Set against the Great Depression of 1930s America, The Grapes of Wrath is a classic example of grand-scale American storytelling. When the book arrived in 1939 it met with some harsh criticism, as it contained strong language and posed many uncomfortable questions about society, politics and humanity. There is, undeniably, a bleakness about it, but this is outweighed by an unshakeable sense of hope which permeates through the most desperate of circumstances. Eminently readable, the book manages to say big, big things, but in the simplest language possible. ‘I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags, I don’t want him satisfied’ John Steinbeck Shocking and controversial when it was first published, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer prize-winning epic, The Grapes of Wrath remains his undisputed masterpiece. Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, have travelled west in search of the promised land. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and broken dreams. Out of their suffering Steinbeck created a drama that is utterly human, but truly epic in its scale and scope; an astonishing and moving tribute to the endurance and dignity of the human spirit.
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