Review of 'The Winter of Our Discontent'

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

Ethan is a store clerk at a store his family previously owned in a small US town where he his family owned many properties. He works for an Italian immigrant who pays little attention to the store but Ethan is honest and works hard, struggling to always do what is best. When he is offered the chance to skim a bit off of the top to bring in the money he believes his family want his moral compass is distorted as he struggles with indecision. Eventually, decision made he proceeds with cool calculation then fate steps in to change everything…

A critique on the impact of greed, and deception on our moral sense as well as a damning indictment of modern capitalism that takes no prisoners with the stench of decay and corruption throughout. A troubling story that has the reader willing Ethan to make the “right” decision though dragged along as his life turns in the way he wanted but at a price that utterly destroys him. Not, not a pleasant read but one that draws us into the mind of a man just trying to find his way in life as reality falls apart around him. Ethan is an everyday man that cannot help but capture our hearts then break them…

This last book from Steinbeck is well written and vividly paints a picture of very human characters struggles. Though set in the post-depression period and featuring specific historical elements such as the old-style grocery store this is as much a tale for today as it was when it was first published.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-10-12


Genre: Classic

Publication Date: 1961