Nightjar

Of Mice and Men (by John Steinbeck)

I really enjoyed this book. A novel or a novella?

At 29,000 words I guess the latter in this day and age. Even my slow and healing brain coped with ease. I was finished in three days and it's an excellent read that tackles some difficult topics still relevant today; namely racism, euthanasia, mental health and the burden of love. Very cleverly done too with the mirrored arc of an old dog and simple man; both loved and not 'mean', but beyond a use-by date. The writing is done, for the most part, in conversation; accents and all. I know some modern editors think this is wrong because it can make for a more difficult read, but I loved it. In my mind I could hear the drawl in their voices; feel the dust in the air. I'd definitely recommend it as a read, and was surprised to discover that a book included on much of the UK's english literature syllabus is still a banned book in large swathes of the US. It's quite innocent and matter of fact in its portrayal; very much an 'it is what it is' portrayal of a specific time in history. Warts and all... And perhaps that's the problem; it shines a light on that society's social issues, still cuts close to the bone on the bigotry of the not too dim and distant past; indeed, sadly, of today still. They say the truth hurts. If you get a chance, read it.

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*As an afterthought -- I did wonder, as I was reading, how much this story influenced Stephen King in his writing of the Green Mile; I thought some of the similarities too close for comfort.

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PAUL JAMESON 2016