John Steinbeck just might be the novelist for our time. In his sprawling epic The Grapes of Wrath, he captured Americans’ peculiar craving for a lifestyles now not their own, the promise of wealth beyond the veil of desolation and the wretched impossibility of the sort of promise. Steinbeck’s other epic, East of Eden, illustrates the ragged desperation of human nature, wreaking destruction alternatively than sporting hope. William Souder’s bracing Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck vividly portrays the brooding and moody writer who could by no means stop writing and who never match comfortably inside the society in which he lived.
Souder, whose biography of John James Audobon become a Pulitzer finalist, lines Steinbeck’s love of tale and storytelling to his childhood. As a teenager, Steinbeck immersed himself in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, which he translated later in lifestyles, and in adventure testimonies and classics inclusive of Treasure Island, Madame Bovary and Crime and Punishment. This early analyzing gave him glimpses into the shadowy corners of the human coronary heart and furnished him with models for telling tales of human beings engaged in heroic struggles against the injustices of their eras.
Steinbeck become a born storyteller, a creator who became not satisfied until he become working, a novelist a bit out of step together with his times (lots of his social realist novels appeared all through the improvements of modernism) and a reticent guy who would instead write than talk publicly about his writing. Steinbeck’s greatest virtue, consistent with Souder, was his “capability to stay interior other cultures, different races; he added humans to lifestyles who were in any other case invisible and voiceless.” The first Steinbeck biography given that Jay Parini’s greater psychological John Steinbeck: A Biography (1995), Mad at the World vibrantly illuminates the life and paintings of a creator who is nevertheless widely study and relevant today.