The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (10)
Mainly about the human condition, but centered around the story of Tom Joad and family traveling in the great migration to California. Steinbeck didn’t mince words, or strive for subtlety, this is an overt plea against capitalism for communism (if you want critics to love your book, champion communism, the critics are suckers for it every time). It’s very long, and surprisingly difficult to finish, it reminds me very much of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. To my mind, its inferior to his later The Winter of Our Discontent in almost every respect, but I must admit that the themes are much more accessible and overt in this novel, while Winter is perhaps a bit challenging (though not nearly as long).
[Originally written June 26, 2002.]