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Firstly let’s appreciate how amazingly beautiful this cover is!! It’s from the same collection of Steinbeck titles Penguin Classics released recently. The same one with that cover of Of Mice And Men I own and was for so long obsessed about. Such beautiful illustration, colours and paper!
2014 was the year of Steinbeck to me. I read three of his most relevant work. Still, Of Mice And Men is by far my favourite. But, The Pearl comes right after it.
This book it’s not, by my surprised, set in the United States. It’s set in Mexico, where Kino, a pearl diver, finds what he thinks to be the Pearl of the World. It’s a story that mainly explores the true nature of humanity, with all its evil and greediness.
Of course that all the strong marks in Steinbeck’s work are still there: the simple language, the slowness. Again, the pace didn’t bother me as much as it did in The Grapes of Wrath. His simplicity make his work so special, I love it in a way I never expected. I spent so many year learning about metaphors and other figures of speech, it’s so refreshing to come across such simply written books.
This one made me reflect a lot on how mean people are. How there’s no limits to get what you want. No matter how many people you have to cheat, hurt or even kill. This is the best thing about Steinbeck’s books, they always left me thinking about life and our nature. How unfair everything is. I won’t say this book is very cheerful because it is not, not at all. But it’s so important. Confronting the reader with such important matters will probably make him or her think about the ways to change their ways, to make themselves better. Writers that care about the world and changing the reader will always have a place close to my heart. And my heart broke several times during this book. It’s that right in making a clear picture of how hard the world really is.
My only not so good notes to add is the fact that I had to read some parts more than once. I hate when that happens. It breaks my rhythm. It’s horrible to read and all of a sudden you have no idea of what is going on! This happens because, since everything is so slow, when a fast part comes, you feel completely lost. There was also some macho remarks that I didn’t quite like. For instance, when Kino hits Juana, his wife, he justifies it by saying he is a man, “half insane and half god”. That… I don’t even know where to start.
Otherwise, it’s a very lovely book. A quick yet pleasant read. Every edition is filled with illustrations by José Clemente Orozco, which is one of the greatest mexican painters. I found those so beautiful. I love a book with some drawings in between the pages, it’s sets a completely different mood. A story is not only told by words. I definitely recommend it.
Here’s one of the most beautiful quotes from the book:
For it is said that humans 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.
I still have one post scheduled before the new year so I’ll say my goodbyes then. Thank you so much for reading.