Friday, June 19, 2009

The Pearl by John Steinbeck (72/81)

The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Category: Lost Book Club

From page one, the reader is clearly told that this is a fable in which "there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things and no in-between anywhere." In this parable, Kino lives with his wife Juana and son, Coyotito, living simply as a pearl diver. Coyotito is stung by a scorpion, and since Kino is poor he cannot pay for the doctor to help his boy. Then, he finds the Pearl of the World and plans on changing his life for the better, forever.

Steinbeck has a knack for describing things briefly but powerfully and memorably, an aspect of this story that I definitely enjoyed. The story is short and simple and, like any parable, has a moral to it. My recurring difficulty with Steinbeck seems to be that I am simply unhappy with what the story is, and wish he told a different one (this strikes me as a bit unfair, but it's how I react as a reader, perhaps because I find some of his writing depressing). In this case, I also had some trouble connecting with the characters. While not the story for me, I could definitely appreciate the description and would recommend it to others. 3 stars.

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