2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Slightly laboured early effort...,
This review is from: To a God Unknown (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Having read most of Steinbeck's stuff, I have to say I didn't think this comparatively early work was anywhere near his best.
Most of the characters are two-dimensional and seem to symbolise ideas or attitudes of one kind or another, rather than being the subtle and contradictory human beings of his later works. I include the central character in this statement and have to say I found him oddly distant and unsympathetic throughout. Also a lot of the dialogue is irritatingly portentous and contrived (especially in the courtship passages) - in contrast to the terse naturalism of speech in many of his works. Not very much action, either, and some of the plot lines are not resolved in any kind of satisfactory way. Finally, the central theme here is paganism and nature-worship and the presentation of this becomes rather silly and far-fetched at times, and increasingly dominates towards the end.
I think what Steinbeck has attempted in this book he did much more successfully in East of Eden a few years on. Still four stars because I did enjoy it and would give nothing less to the greatest of American writers. I think he was still perfecting his art with this one, though.