The Wayward Bus

( 12 )

Overview


In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck’s vision comes wonderfully to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California’s back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future. This edition features an introduction by Gary ...
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The Wayward Bus

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Overview


In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success, The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck’s vision comes wonderfully to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California’s back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future. This edition features an introduction by Gary Scharnhorst.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142437872
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 203,191
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck

JOHN STEINBECK (1902—1968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Robert DeMott is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio University and the author of Steinbeck's Typewriter, an award-winning book of critical essays.
Gary Scharnhorst is professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He is the editor of books by Bret Harte and John De Forest for Penguin Classics.

Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Salinas, California February 27, 1902. His father, John Steinbeck, served as Monterey County Treasurer for many years. His mother, Olive Hamilton, was a former schoolteacher who developed in him a love of literature. Young Steinbeck came to know the Salinas Valley well, working as a hired hand on nearby ranches in Monterey County. In 1919, he graduated from Salinas High School as president of his class and entered Stanford University majoring in English. Stanford did not claim his undivided attention. During this time he attended only sporadically while working at a variety jobs including on with the Big Sur highway project, and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas.

Steinbeck left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York City. He was unsuccessful and returned, disappointed, to California the following year. Though his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, it attracted little literary attention. Two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, met the same fate.

After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1930, Steinbeck and his new wife, Carol Henning, made their home in Pacific Grove. Here, not far from famed Cannery Row, heart of the California sardine industry, Steinbeck found material he would later use for two more works, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row.

With Tortilla Flat (1935), Steinbeck's career took a decidedly positive turn, receiving the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. He felt encouraged to continue writing, relying on extensive research and personal observation of the human drama for his stories. In 1937, Of Mice and Men was published. Two years later, the novel was produced on Broadway and made into a movie. In 1940, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Grapes of Wrath, bringing to public attention the plight of dispossessed farmers.

After Steinbeck and Henning divorced in 1942, he married Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple moved to New York City and had two sons, Thomas and two years later, John. During the war years, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches reappeared in Once There Was A War. In 1945, Steinbeck published Cannery Row and continued to write prolifically, producing plays, short stories and film scripts. In 1950, he married Elaine Anderson Scott and they remained together until his death.

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception.." In his acceptance speech, Steinbeck summarized what he sought to achieve through his works:

"...Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...Further more, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity of greatness of heart and spirit—gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature..."

Steinbeck remained a private person, shunning publicity and moving frequently in his search for privacy. He died on December 20, 1968 in New York City, where he and his family made a home. But his final resting place was the valley he had written about with such passion. At his request, his ashes were interred in the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas. He is survived by his son, Thomas.

Author biography courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amnesia Glasscock
      John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (full name); Amnesia Glasscock
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 27, 1902
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salinas, California
    1. Date of Death:
      December 20, 1968
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2001

    John Steinbeck's best writing

    I know that the Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck's most lauded work, but in my opinion The Wayward Bus is by far the superior writing. In this book, Steinbeck displays his understanding of the many types of personalities. The star-struck waitress, the dancer pulsating with sensuality, the repressed businessman, the proper but passionless wife. Grapes of Wrath may have dealt with more popular social issues - the repression of a whole class of people, but The Wayward Bus dealt with universal issues. I have heard it stated that the characters in this book are not likeable people. How are they so different from the vast majority of people that one meets. Steinbeck's power is in his ability to see the world as it is now as we are told that it exists.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I had yet to read my first book outside of class assigned materi

    I had yet to read my first book outside of class assigned material by Steinbeck (Travels with Charley, Grapes of Wrath) when I was an adult. I picked up this book on merit of the interesting title, which is greatly what the book is about. There are some trials to overcome in this book, and like Grapes of Wrath, the interrelationship between various characters on a journey is what it is all about. Somewhat steamy at parts, too. Unfortunately, their journey or struggle together is temporal, and people have to hook up accordingly. It is not set up in such social upheaval as Grapes of Wrath, so probably if you are looking for a first fiction read by Steinbeck, you should resort to that great literature before turning to this treat.

    I would recommend this product along with Sirens of Morning Light by Benjamin Anderson, a quest for a man in Iowa to regain his identity, which becomes entangled with people who claim to have known him when he discovers he is a scientific experiment. Make sure not to miss either book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2002

    Great characters ... abrupt ending.

    Although this is not one of Steinbeck's most popular works, his development of the characters in The Wayward Bus is truly incredible. Unfortunately, once the characters are developed, the book abruptly ends! Even so, this is a must read for any Steinbeck fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2002

    The Wayward Bus

    Outstanding insight into the depravity of the human mind which people keep hidden within themselves. Took too long,(half the book), for the bus to ever get on the road in my opinion. Once it did, it was a page turner. I also wished the ending was not so abrupt.

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