Dec 13, 2013

End of the book (with beautiful spoilers)

Dear Cookies,

I did not want to read Steinbeck's book, I did not purposely vote for it. I had read "the pearl" many years ago and is still a book I remember, the kind of story that remains, engraved forever in your mind. In that book, as in this one, you can feel the tragedy coming slowly but irreversibly as you advance on each page. You can deeply feel sorrow, injustice and the unfair situation of the poor and the ignorants. Steinbeck is damn good to masterly describe that kind of situations, the kind of writer that deserves a Nobel prize, but that shocks those that read him and even more those that dare to do it twice.I think this book is more than great. On one hand we have a perfect, sharp description of a part of the american society in the thirties of the 20th century. Clear as a picture. Everything from the clothes or the food to the cars or technologies used to crop (to me, having studied agriculture, is amazing to discover that theree was not machinery available to pick the cotton on that time). The roles of each one in these family groups, the social cliches, the prejudices and hierarchies, everything detailed. That is the history book. But in the other hand it is an actual text, a description of things that are currently happening all around the world, not only in Spain, or in the US, but also, as you have said, in developing countries, all around the world. I guess abuse of power, injustice and hunger is something inherently attached to the human beings that will happen once and once again, wherever, always.The end of the book is as good as the rest of it. Tom goes away, as others before him, he will never be back. The flood, the Nature, spoils the little things the Joads still had. The coming baby, the hope, the  future, is not a baby anymore. We do not know the sins of John, we do not need to know, he will pay for them anyway. We do not know the fate of the remaining members of the family, but we can imagine that they will do the same as the rest of the okies: to suffer, to die sooner than later in misery, it does not matter how. That is irrelevant, the book is elegant enough not to make us read that. We can only hope that they will manage to survive, in order to not to feel too sorry for them, maybe guilty. Then we close the book, and go back to our reality, hard as it can be, but that is not the same as the one of the miserable, of those that have lost everything and are starving.I did not want to read this book. I was sure that it was going to make me thirsty, hungry, cold, tired. Nothing good. But also angry, impotent, desperate. It is so terribly good, actual and real that it will stay carved in my memory, as the one from the same author I mentioned above. I will have to think about ethics, about society and about Justice, while at the same time people around us are desperately looking for a job, searching food in the trash or sleeping in the streets.I will bear the burden of this two books, I only hope we will choose, in our always interesting club, a new one, lighter to read and not to carry on our shoulders.

Dec 6, 2013

The grapes of wrath: the rest of the chapters

It seems that we are all late, but as always, it's not a problem! We'll just add up from here all the comments for the rest of the book, so please add whatever remarks, comments, ideas that "The grapes of wrath" are provoking you... By the way, a very good title, if you ask me... what do you think?
We'll give some more weeks to reach the final line before we start thinking about the next book, the first of 2014, sounds good?