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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
40
The Wayward Bus (Penguin Modern Classics)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 April 2015
The thing that grasps you about Steinbeck, is that although he is a very sophisticated and intelligent writer, he is also well informed about the basics of life - those lower echelons of life, and their financial, psychological and emotional struggles?
He is also surprisingly well informed about the ways of women? One can only assume he learned an awful lot from his wife, her friends and his business associates – he never had his own daughters! Like so many writers he is clearly a great observer?
He has an excellent knowledge of most things in this book: rural matters of all descriptions, mechanical matters, the feelings of frustration, isolation, a lack of satisfaction, an inner hardness to survive. He paints pictures so wonderfully well.
He is never graphic about sex or violence – he tells you just enough and leaves you to imagine the rest – perfectly done!
His characterisations are brilliant. He reminds so much of Fitzgerald in the way he writes – perhaps it’s just that they are both so damn good that they seem so similar?
We have here a Don Juan, an alcoholic, a travelling salesman (about the only one without any hang ups or secrets), a glamour puss, the ‘well –to-do, Victorian,’ family and a couple of youngsters lacking the usual self-confidence and finally an irritating prophet of doom!
Put them all in a mix; get on the bus, and we have a story – and a brilliant read it is too. I just loved it. Finally, look out for those lovely repeated asides regarding his characters and the like - it’ll make you smile – ‘Pimples’ love of cakes for example!
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on 20 December 2009
`Wayward Bus' is yet another exceptional novel from Steinbeck that shows us just why he won the nobel prize and how he was able to weave a wonderful story out of seemingly mundane and common place events. This book follows a group of passengers on a bus as they travel along it's route and the events that hinder them. It looks at how they react to these events and each other as they try to reach their destination. Of course there is more to the story than that, but you'd need to read it to find out more. It has the most defined character studies you will ever see in a book and the dialogue between characters really makes you live and breathe the scenes with them. The language is rich and descriptive and I've yet to read a Steinbeck book I don't like and this is as good as many other of his books I`ve read. Steinbeck manages to create beauty in the simplest of images and it is often these small touches that elevate the book from merely being good, to being great. This was written between `Cannery Row' and `The Pearl' and when Steinbeck was at his peak and if you are yet to try any of his works this would be a fine place to start, of course that applies to many of his other novels as well! This is simply constructed, elegant and beautiful and well worth a read.

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on 6 November 2015
The content, the written words in a book, are the most important thing. I read The Wayward Bus many years ago. I am reading it again mostly as an example of writing style, method and qualities.

Wonderful

Interesting that in the first short chapter more has been said, told and painted than many books manage in their entirety.

That is why it is worth reading and a joy to boot, Steinbeck.
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on 30 October 2008
I'm really into Steinbeck now with quite a few of his works under my belt and many more to go. This is not one of his brooding epics; it is at the easier reading end of the scale in the company of Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, etc. It's entertaining, never demanding, and studded with interesting characters. Almost all of them have personality flaws that they normally try to hide from view but which become exposed during their wayward journey.
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on 4 August 2010
The Wayward Bus was chosen for our bookclub and it went down a storm. The quality of the writing just stood out against most fiction written today. It's amazing how little plot there is but still you want to turn each page to learn more about the characters. It feels quite contemporary despite being written 60+ years ago.

No, it's not one of the Steinbeck epics but we all loved it. Those who had not read a Steinbeck before say they will pick up another soon. My copy has already been passed on to other friends and I'm happy to recommend it you :)
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on 3 March 2015
Steinbeck certainly knows people. The story moves along with a lot of character development. Although not a lot of physical action takes place, we find the events compelling and we are eager to see how this all ends. Steinbeck at his best.
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on 20 March 2017
Brilliant! The characters are so real - I was with them all the way! Easy to read, the words just flow effortlessly and beautifully. Only my second Steinbeck - but now have three more by the bed!
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on 20 November 2015
Got everything a good novel should have. I quite enjoyed it, an easy read, simple story.
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on 5 February 2015
Apart from Steinbeck being a marvellous story teller, what appeals so much to me is his empathy for the common man. Nearly all his stories are morality tales but what sets him apart is his emphasis on the innate goodness of most of humanity in spite of their character weaknesses and defects.
Never more so than in this novel.
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on 17 February 2017
An involving read !
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