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Good story but not a full represenation of Steinbeck's greatness,
This review is from: The Pearl (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)This is the fourth consecutive Steinbeck title I've read, and it's a little different to say the least. The novel, or rather novella, is a parable rewrite by Steinbeck, based on an old Mexican folktale, so unlike other works, Steinbeck is somewhat bound by an existing plot and characters(?). As such he has little freedom to evolve things to the same extent that he does in his other novels, and it shows.
The story itself is centred on poor Mexican fisherman Kino, who discovers a pearl - `The Pearl of the World', and it looks as though all of his problems, mainly financial, are going to be over. However the discovery is set to doom Kino and his family, as paranoia and the evil of others conspire against his good fortune, and shatter his good intentions.
The highlight of The Pearl is definitely Steinbeck's treatment of the paranoia which is growing in Kino. He illustrates this to great effect, showing Kino becoming more and more suspicious of other people's motives, and he further emphasises the sense of foreboding through the use of a kind of `wandering evil', the `song' of which Kino often seems to be perceptive to.
All in all The Pearl isn't a bad novella. It's quite enjoyable, but it's not to the same depth of many of Steinbeck's other works. It's short so I would recommend it to other people to read, if only to take from it the lesson that wealth doesn't always bring happiness.