By John Steinback
Bloody hell. How did I get around to reading this? Just after I’d finished Mr. Pye, I was bumming around the sitting room when I noticed the book in a shelf. Title sounds familiar, I thought, and author too. I picked it up and had a go.
It annoyed me at first. The characters’ speech, the broad strokes with which things are set up. But then it drew me in. I began to admire how economically told this story is. I felt tense, there was something slow and deadly and inevitable about how things moved. Everyone felt like real people. I cared about them all, I believed everything I read.
Lenny is a powerful archetype but it was this book that made him one. We’ve partially got Warner Brothers cartoons to thank for that but it’s true. There’s a reason archetypes of any kind persevere. It’s because they’re powerful. They latch onto our collective unconscious (or maybe they emerge from it, depending on which school of thought you’re from).
By the end of the book, I was deeply moved. I haven’t been in a very long time. This is powerful. How everyone on the planet cannot have read this is beyond me. How I’ve lived 27 years without having this recommended to me is beyond me. Read it.
Read in print, started 23rd September, finished 24th September.