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I bought this book on the strength of recommendations in Amazon reviews and because, in my final year at school, I had learned to love John Steinbeck's books on the USA depression. I was not disappointed.
Travels with Charley is, however, quite different from the 'depression' books. The language is still beautiful and the descriptions captivating but this is a wonderfully crafted travelogue by a very observant traveller. The book contains much humour - particularly in his relations with Charley. The pace is fairly gentle with time to learn from the various characters he meets on the road. As you listen it is hard to remember that it was written in the very early 1960s. So many of the comments are still applicable.
Peter Marinker's reading is beautiful and his voice is just right. You feel that he is John Steinbeck!
This is a book to savour and one you certainly wish was longer. I highly recommend it to you.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Two years before he died, John Steinbeck said goodbye to his wife, loaded up his truck & trailer, packed his dog, Charley, and took off on the road to see if the America he had been writing about for years had changed substantially. We listened to this book driving from London to Glasgow and back and it enthralled driver and 4 passengers for 12 hours. Steinbeck captures the idiosyncracies of the American people and places he encounters with great compassion and humour. An engaging account of a time and place in America that no longer exists.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Travels With Charley?
This was a deeply personal, immersive, humorous and lovely book to listen to! If Steinbeck were alive today, I'm sure he would be one of the foremost bloggers of our time. More often than I can recall, I found myself smiling at his stories, many times I laughed out loud as well.
What was great is the fact that the book didn't end with a cliche! I was expecting something to the effect of: I left to find America, and in the journey, I found myself.
That didn't happen, and I'm very glad of it.
Who was your favorite character and why?
John Steinbeck and Charley of course!
What does Peter Marinker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I loved hearing Peter Marinker read this book. When he was reading the deep and profound passages, he came across as solemn and thoughtful. When he was reading the humour parts, you may have expected to hear a rim-shot.
I also loved that he gave voice to the characters with feeling as well as accents. I will look for more books read by him.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
This book did make me laugh many times. As mentioned before, I thought much of this book could have easily been written yesterday instead of in the early 60s.
Any additional comments?
Hearing this book may make me look at more written by Steinbech. I may even read Of Mice and Men again.
Where does Travels With Charley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I read Travels With Charley first when I where about 18 years old. I never forgot how good I liked this book with it's many stories from the locals in USA.
Now I'm 61 years and the bok is just as good as the first time. This book I will recommend for all readers.