The Pastures of Heaven

John Steinbeck

Book cover

I chose this as one of the books I took along to read on vacation in San Francisco because it is about Northern California and because I had recently read “Travels with Charlie” and really enjoyed it. And because I could borrow it from my friend S. It’s a lovely book, consisting of several somewhat-related vignettes about people living in a rural valley near Monterey, CA. They’re very well-rendered characters, with less sentimentalism than the characters in “Cannery Row.” The stories are mostly somewhat tragic in nature, but overall I wouldn’t call it a sad book. A common theme in the stories is the role of grand plans in human lives. Usually in this book, the plans are basically ruined, but the different stories give a variety of perspectives on that–sometimes the act of planning itself seems to be the most valued part, and other times Steinbeck portrays it as foolish or arrogant.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars