Recent Read: The Grapes of Wrath

I just finished reading John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath for the first time. Talk about depressing! It ranks among the most wretched books I've ever read (right up there with Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage). It's one of those books that just hits you in the face with its unrelenting misery, one of those books which continually drops not-so-subtle hints that things are only going to get worse--and they do. Pushing on, I would alternately cry, shake the book, yell at the characters NOT to go do that very thing they were inevitably going to do because doom was the forecast from the start. I found myself five pages from the end, wondering how on earth the misery was going to wrap up, when suddenly, on the second to last page, a glimmer of hope, an ending so strange, so appalling, yet so transcending that it flirts with the sublime.   

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