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Travels with Charley: In Search of Americaby John Steinbeck
Wanderlust is a pervasive, seemingly incurable "virus of restlessness." Not contagious in any clinical sense, you either have it or you don't. John Steinbeck did, in spades. As the 1960s commenced, Steinbeck, according to his oldest son, sensed his impending twilight, and thus set out with his French poodle, Charley, to see his country a final time. Spanning nearly 10,000 miles — from New York, through New England, across the northern U.S. border, into the Pacific Northwest, down through California and the Southwest, across Texas and the Deep South, and back up to the Empire State — Travels with Charley is a classic travelogue full of hope and heartbreak. Steinbeck's journey showed him an America of utter abundance, full of wrenching beauty, yet also replete with deplorable excess and intolerance. Nearly 50 years later, the book's candid observations remain both poignant and pertinent, a literary snapshot of a nation whose idyllic portrayal of itself never quite lives up to its reality.
Synopses & Reviews
Steinbeck's tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society, dependant on one another for both physical and emotional survival
Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Floods bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values.
First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is—both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. John Steinbeck draws on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, and interweaves their stories in this world where only the fittest survive—creating what is at once one of his most humorous and poignant works. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck returns to the setting of Tortilla Flat to create another evocative portrait of life as it is lived by those who unabashedly put the highest value on the intangibles—human warmth, camaraderie, and love.
This Steinbeck Centennial Edition features French flaps and deckled pages.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
An intimate journey across and in search of America, as told by one of its most beloved writers, in a deluxe centennial edition
In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
Travels with Charley in Search of America is an intimate look at one of America's most beloved writers in the later years of his life—a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography. Written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South—which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand—Travels with Charley is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade.
This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light--these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of 58, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.
About the Author
No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.
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