The Pastures of Heaven
It has been a long time since I wrote on the blog. Not that I was not reading; I had pangs of frustration. Nevermind, this was my first John Steinback and I will say I will read more by him because I loved it. This is set around the author’s birthplace Monterey in California. It is about the place – Pastures of Heaven, a valley, and it is about the people that live there.We meet all kinds of people here. It is how they live in the pastures, what made them move to the pastures, what makes then leave the pastures and how it shaped their lives. The book has the remarkable flow that describes lives as they are lived and not the way fictionalised in many books. The place is fertile and people earn their living by growing vegetables and fruits. There is just a school and a grocery-store apart from beautiful homes.
The people in the book are wonderfully moving, violent yet compassionate, they are gentle but strange, they are scary but touchy. The book is about people and their lives in pastures. We meet a half-man – a genious but a scary creature; a mother who sustains sorrows but pastures makes her realise that life is more than just enduring sorrows – she shocks us; a man who is in search for the meaning of life and lives lazily in absolute poverty in the pastures – it teaches him that he need to give up his laziness and give more to his neglected son. There is a haunted house but the Manson’s make it a heaven. Then there are the respectable Whiteside’s who dream to build a dynasty in the Pastures but it does not last more than one generation. The 19-year-old teacher finds her lost-guide in the pastures but she has learned to live without him.
No wonder all dream to be a part of this place – they want to be there after they die.
The books has been wonderfully written. This might perhaps be not the best Steinback (Grapes of Wrath, I heard so) but definately a moving read.