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The Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck
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The Pastures of Heaven (1932)

by John Steinbeck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (20)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This collection of interlinking stories about the valley known as the Pastures of Heaven is fascinating, and written in the thought-provoking and humorous prose that only Steinbeck can provide. ( )
  JaredOrlando | Sep 19, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Oct 2010):
- This is a cycle of interrelated stories, an early Steinbeck work which is most notable for establishing the setting and style for which the author became famous. I was impressed at the freshness of the language, 70 years later, as well as the sinister atmosphere..
- The "Pastures of Heaven" is a fictional, but genuine, region of valleys near the central California coast, modeled on the fertile farmland where Steinbeck grew up. The name derives from discovery by Spanish colonialists, and the stories begin as the first white settlers begin to stake their claims. We meet unique characters, many recurring, such as gossipy T.B. Allen, proprietor of the only store in the valleys; 'Shark" Wicks, whose phantom wealth is eventually cashed in; Tularecito, or 'little frog', who must find "thine own people" (my favorite story); the imaginative oddball Junius Maltby; respected school board chairman John Whiteside, determined that all future Whiteside generations remain on this land; Raymond Banks, whose Pastures of Heaven farm is "the one most admired", but whose leisurely jaunts to San Quentin are tarnished by the sensitive Bert Munroe.
- The land - its orchards, squares of gold, flocks of chickens, food produced from the harvests, is weaved within the characters' plights. These pasturelands in fact serve as the ultimate overseer in this collection. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 25, 2018 |
The Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck
Love hearing how this book came about and how he achieved writing it.
Starts in very old days of 1700's and the book explains who founded the area and who lived in the house through the centuries til Monroe's move in.
Love explanations of words as they appear, informative.
Enjoy the different households and the things that are important to them in this town.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Dec 20, 2017 |
In 1919, Sherwood Anderson published a collection of short stories centering around a town. The book was called Winesburg, Ohio. It remained popular into the 1930s. Around this time, a young journalist named Elizabeth Ingels developed an idea of interconnected stories similar to Anderson's work, but based in California. She mentioned the idea to a young writer named John Steinbeck. At the time, Steinbeck was struggling with his first novel (the later published To a God Unknown) and had managed to publish his second (the cringe-worthy Cup of Gold). He had yet to find his voice and his readers. So he did what any young, unappreciated artist has at least struggled with—he borrowed a good idea.

Now I've heard the argument from some of Steinbeck's devoted fans and scholars: Steinbeck's idea was unique from Ingels' original concept... Ingels wasn't ever going to do anything with the idea anyway... whatever. It doesn't matter and here's why: this book kind of sucks (relatively speaking, anyway). No, some people love it. Many do in fact. I didn't. I consider this one of the author's worsts. This is the twenty-second book I've read of Steinbeck's and, well, personally, Burning Bright made a bigger impact on me. Burning Bright? The experimental one about circus clowns and farmers and sailors? Yes, that one.

What the casual reader of Steinbeck may not know is that the author's earliest works are often far from the realism that Steinbeck is generally known for. The author repeatedly tried to separate himself from this label, a categorization that was cemented with works such as In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath. This spiritual, magical Steinbeck is most evident in the author's earliest books and latest books. Sometimes these subtle elements of magic worked for the author, other times they didn't; largely, they're either missed or ignored.

The Pastures of Heaven holds some of this early Steinbeck magic. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Either way, the collection as a whole has a rather absurd feel to it. Curses, gnomes, and sex-dealing proprietors of a Mexican restaurant who take “buy one, get one free” to a new level... yet, it's all Steinbeck. The author didn't spend as much time with the setting as he did in later works, but his signature style of laying out the scenery and breathing life into it is intact.

But where The Pastures of Heaven succeeds most is in its characters. I would argue that, amongst Steinbeck's earliest works, this is one of his most character-centric books. These are brief character studies of the people who populate the valley. In these short pieces, no character is given the time to be developed fully, however. Aside from some of the characters, and a couple stories, there's nothing horribly exciting about this collection. Compared to Steinbeck's greatest works, nothing in these stories stands out. Compared to the town of Winesburg, Ohio, however, Las Pasturas del Cielo, California, is much more spellbinding. ( )
  chrisblocker | Oct 17, 2017 |
Very good short stories that make a great novel. Very clever. ( )
  Kitty.Cunningham | Jul 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nagel, JamesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vittorini, ElioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my father and mother
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When the Carmelo Mission of Alta California was being built, some time around 1776, a group of twenty converted Indians abandoned religion during a night, and in the morning they were gone from their huts.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A collection of interrelated stories. Steinbeck charts the gradual disintegration of a peaceful farming community in a lush California valley. As he writes of a family suddenly made to feel 'poor' through the charity of a neighbor, of the wanton destruction of a retarded boy's tenuous hold on reality, and of a father jealous of suspected attentions paid to his daughter, Steinbeck depicts the destructive impact of one family's insensitivity on the lives of all those around them.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140187480, Paperback)

Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America?s greatest writers and cultural figures. We have begun publishing his many works for the first time as blackspine Penguin Classics featuring eye-catching, newly commissioned art. This season we continue with the seven spectacular and influential books East of Eden, Cannery Row, In Dubious Battle, The Long Valley, The Moon Is Down, The Pastures of Heaven, and Tortilla Flat. Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readers?and to the many who revisit them again and again."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

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The insensitivity between neighbors leads to the gradual disintegration of a small California farm community.

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