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La perla by John Steinbeck
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La perla (original 1947; edition 1993)

by John Steinbeck, Horacio Vázquez Rial

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11,523177461 (3.49)1 / 363
For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to tragedy. Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems.… (more)
Member:maxmeza
Title:La perla
Authors:John Steinbeck
Other authors:Horacio Vázquez Rial
Info:Barcelona Edhasa 1993
Collections:Your library
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The Pearl by John Steinbeck (1947)

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» See also 363 mentions

English (153)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (5)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  French (3)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Arabic (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (177)
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This is one of Steinbeck’s shorter works (my paperback copy runs to just ninety pages) and its simple plot is his 1947 reworking of a Mexican folk tale.
. Mexico is where we are here, up in the northwest corner of the map on the inner coastline of that long narrow tectonic peninsula which forms the Sea of Cortés. In the poorest part of the town of La Paz live Kino, his wife Juana and their first baby, little Coyotito. They own virtually nothing and live in a house made from brushwood—part of a whole community scratching a living as pearl-divers, collecting oysters from twenty feet down on the floor of the gulf. Some oysters, a few, contain pearls, which the divers take uptown through the more prosperous stone-and-plaster streets where they are routinely fleeced by the buyers, the pearl dealers.
. It’s about as simple as a life could be. One fateful day, though, Kino dives and finds a gnarled old oyster containing a monster of a pearl: the Pearl of the World, the pearl of his dreams. The story itself then describes how Kino’s dream descends, step by inevitable step, into nightmare.
. To someone sitting reading while it’s bucketing down outside (again), the setting is striking: eel grass swaying in the warm gulf waters, banks of coral, little seahorses; among the houses above, the noon sunlight so harsh even tiny stones cast sharp shadows. The more distant landscape is all heat-haze and mirages, in places as clear as if looked at through a telescope, but in others shifting so in and out of focus it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t—and compared to an outer world like that, Kino’s own inner feelings seem the more reliable, certain, the more real. Steinbeck describes this inner life as music: there’s the Song of the Family…and of course, increasingly, the Song of Evil.
. And the moral of this parable? It’s about the loss of innocence. And it’s about naïvety versus cunning, versus that depressingly familiar combination you find everywhere you go on this Earth of lies, contempt and greed. And it’s also about not coveting worldly things, about not messing up a simple life with ambition; materially poor before the Pearl, Kino is rich in other ways: he has a wife (and quite a wife too; one feature of the story is what a strong, loyal, calm and clear-headed woman Juana is); he has a healthy baby son, the respect of his friends, and a home. But the intrusion of the Pearl of the World shatters the peace of La Paz, and most of the things Kino imagines he will buy or do with the money are, to him at least, modern things: for Juana, marriage in a church; for Coyotito, books and a school education; and for himself, a Winchester rifle.
. Not everyone has praised The Pearl—some consider it racist, perpetuating a stereotypical view of the indigenous people of the region. But it’s the message itself I’m more dubious about: it’s getting four stars because it is a wonderful read, but is Steinbeck really telling us, “Don’t have hopes and dreams, don’t want a better life for your kids, don’t imagine”? ( )
  justlurking | Apr 25, 2022 |
I didnt like this book when I read it for school and I still dont like it now. ( )
1 vote mutantpudding | Dec 26, 2021 |
Too sad for me. ( )
  Saraiest | Sep 17, 2021 |
This book is an easy read. The language used is poetically halting... simple yet elegant. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader in suspense. Despite its brevity, he book contains multiple interesting comments on contemporary society including on racism, colonialism, and religion, as well as comments on human nature. ( )
  dmbg | Sep 12, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (77 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldiz, FranciscoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coppolani, Renésecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elizondo, HectorNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goedegebuure, JaapIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orozco, Jose ClementeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veltman-Boissevain, E. D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagner-Martin, LindaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Kino woke up early in the morning.
Kino awakened in the near dark.
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It is said that human beings are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.
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For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to tragedy. Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185120, 0141332913, 0143566415, 0241952468

HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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