The Human Comedy

The Human Comedy

4.3 19
by William Saroyan, Don Freeman

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The place is Ithaca, in California's San Joaquin Valley. The time is World War II. The family is the Macauley's—a mother, sister, and three brothers whose struggles and dreams reflect those of America's second-generation immigrants…In particular, fourteen-year-old Homer, determined to become one of the fastest telegraph messengers in the West, finds


The place is Ithaca, in California's San Joaquin Valley. The time is World War II. The family is the Macauley's—a mother, sister, and three brothers whose struggles and dreams reflect those of America's second-generation immigrants…In particular, fourteen-year-old Homer, determined to become one of the fastest telegraph messengers in the West, finds himself caught between reality and illusion as delivering his messages of wartime death, love, and money brings him face-to-face with human emotion at its most naked and raw.

Gentle, poignant and richly autobiographical, this delightful novel shows us the boy becoming the man in a world that even in the midst of war, appears sweeter, safer and more livable than out own.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
4.17(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.50(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

What People are saying about this

Edmund Wilson
"He achieves the feat of making and keeping us busy without the use of alcohol and clearly by the action of art."

Meet the Author

William Saroyan was one of America’s major twentieth century writers. In his prize-winning play, “The Time of Your life,” and in his celebrated fictional works such as “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze,” he displayed a fantastical imagination and irresistible charm that is still fresh and entertaining today.

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Human Comedy 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Human Comedy by William Saroyan was a very boring book. I almost couldn't finish the book. I usually get into a books that I love but this book i did not get into. This was a bad book. Why does it go to another person each chapter? Also the chapters are so short. I will definitely mot recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I get that this is a classic book that is really touching, but, as somebody has already said, it is sooooooooooooooooo boring. It has almost no plot or conflict, and actually could have been good if the conflict between the main character and his track coach had continued, and there was a random chapter about some chinese guy and his kid and  I thought "oh some new characters, they might have an impact on the story." Nope. They are never mentioned again. Also, the end feels rushed and not very detailed, and is also painfully predictable. Overall, I got about as much enjoyment out of this book as eating a bowl of that really dry Fiber One cereal without any milk. I would not recommend this book to anyone who wants a book with any kind of conflict o plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an amazing book overall, showing hope of different characters and how they treat different situations, it basically shows the way humans make mistakes and how they fix them. You basically just follow all the different characters around with no story, just them and their lives.
EVP43 More than 1 year ago
Fifty years after reading The Human Comedy in high school English class, I rejoiced to find it still in print. Once again, I was awed by the people of Ithaca, California, as they encountered the hilarity, the tragedy, the contradictions of life. Once again I followed Ulysses and Homer as they sought to understand the mystery of ineptitude and inconsistency, as well as heroic acceptance of loss, in their fellow humans.
Claire_the_dog_lover More than 1 year ago
Wow, The Human Comedy. I mean its a moderate hard book, but I think that everyone should read it who is high school and beyon. This book doesn't really have a plot of a conflict, but I think that that was exactly the point. You just have to get through it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book. It is easily one of my favorites. It has a point to it, which I would consider a good quality. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who is super happy or perky.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No one should go through life with out reading this book. I read in in sixth grade and will never forget it. It teaches us... well it teaches us the human comedy, the life we live. One of the most important and touching chapters in this book is the one where Lional takes Ulissies to the lybrary. Though not very important in the sceme of things, it really shows us what wonder and innocence is. To put it into one sentance I give you when four year old Ulissys gives his mother and egg, ¿He looked at it a moment, picked it up, brought it to his mother and very carefully handed it to her, by which he meant what no man can guess and no child can remember to tell.¿ The secret to life. The egg.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this simple book is an inspiring and enthralling title because of its warm feeling you get. This is a book, that if you dig deeper into its meaning, is about the way humans react with life, death, and love. Therefore it is called the Human Comedy for it shows the way we react to things. However, the portion of this title named 'Comedy' should be titled Comedy of Errors for the dramatic feel of the piece. However, this actually made me feel a tad sad and teary toward the end of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do not like the title of this book. This book is not a comedy. It is the drama of a war and how war ruins peoples lives. This author tells a lot in this simple story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally I think that this book was very touching it made me look at life different because there's no such think as not struggling in life because everyone goes through it.And I'm in high school and I'm not a reader I hate reading and I absolutely loved this book and I would recommend it to anybody else.
Guest More than 1 year ago
when i first read this book, i was in high school, and we all know how they make us read the most boring books even if we dont want to. but this was one of the very few books that i actually enjoyed, and finished(!) reading. its a very interesting story of a young boy who learns about life when he gets a new job delivering newspapers. i would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to read the not-so-grown-up-yet-readable books. i personally enjoyed it very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was a very touching story. This book has a lot of messages through out the story. After reading this book you may learn a few more values and concepts. The only down point to this story would be the ending. The ending to this novel is definatley not a happily ever after.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first 'grown up' book I read as a kid. I really felt a kinship to the characters. Felt that I knew them personally. Sad, happy, jubliant feeling abound throughout the story. Great lines that have been used elsewhere, although in different respects; 'This is Texas, he's from New Jersey'. Book is much better than the movie, although the movie closely follows the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book. Would recomend it to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author, William Saroyan, has the most incredible mind and literary skill known to me. His ability to use characters as symbols is amazing, and for them to be complex enough to be puzzling, yet simple enough for a 14 year-old like myself to grasp. However, the best thing about this book is the messages that are delivered in the long passages spoken by Mrs. Macauley, Mr. Grogan, and Mr. Spangler. These messages help Homer realize that he can be anything, that the potential for greatness is out there, and all he needs to do is go for it. It certainly inspired me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a pleasure to read, it took me back to the olden days were me and my buddies would go around the town all peped-up about the war. This showed me many different aspects I had not considered before about the war. I found in many ways that Homer was a reflection of my childhood in the olden days back in the farmin¿ fields of Missouri. This book opened numerous passageways in my mind and made me wish to revisit Missouri, and just leave my oxford professorship.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! I encourage you to read it. I read it for a high school project.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a great book that everyone would enjoy reading!!!!