This third volume in The Library of America's authoritative edition of John Steinbeck 's writings shows one of America's most enduring popular writers continuing restlessly to explore new subject matter and new approaches to storytelling.
The Moon Is Down (1942), set in an unnamed Scandinavian country under German occupation, dramatizes the transformation of ordinary life under totalitarian rule and the underground struggle against the Nazi invaders.In Cannery Row (1945) Steinbeck paid tribute to his closest friend, the marine biologist Ed Ricketts, in the central character of Doc, proprietor of the Western Biological Laboratory and spiritual and financial mainstay of a cast of philosophical drifters and hangers-on. The comic and bawdy evocation of the main street of Monterey's sardine-canning district has made this one of the most popular of all Steinbeck's novels. Steinbeck's long involvement with Mexican culture is distilled in The Pearl (1947). Expanding on an anecdote he had heard about a boy who found a pearl of unusual size, Steinbeck turned it into an allegory of the corrupting influence of sudden wealth. The Pearl appears here with the original illustrations by José Clemente Orozco.
Ambitious in scale and original in structure, East of Eden (1952) recounts the violent and emotionally turbulent history of a Salinas Valley family through several generations. Drawing on Biblical parallels, East of Eden is an epic that explores the writer's deepest and most anguished concerns within a landscape that for him had mythic resonance.