genre: adult fiction
book 2 of 5 for the Classics Challenge
A poor oyster-diving fisherman. His loyal and humble (but not unknowingly submissive) wife. Their sparse existence on the shores of Mexico.
Life is hard yet familiar, with the strengthening song of family allowing them some contentment with their infant son. And then, diving one day, he finds it. The Pearl of the World. Huge and beautiful, sure to provide for the life of comfort they've never even had the courage to imagine. Right? Something that is so big and beautiful has to bring you joy, right?
This hauntingly simple and short story is pretty transparent - the thing you dream of bringing you grief. And yet, there is a depth to the changes in husband and wife, how riches in the hand suddenly change your view of what's always made you happy before. There are lessons to be learned in these pages, if you are willing to accept the somewhat triteness of the message. As always, Steinbeck is a genius with words, it reads so smoothly and heartfelt. His Mexico feels so real: the boats and the heat, the brush houses and the almost too closely knit community. This was a fast and interesting read.