I’m reading my way through Steinbeck’s canon and have finally arrived at the first of his “classics.” This is the story of two drifters in California’s Salinas Valley, just trying to get by while they dream of one day owning a patch of land, living quietly and raising rabbits. George is forever running interference for his simple-minded pal Lenny, a big guy who doesn’t know his own strength. When the pair take a job working on a ranch, a minor calamity foreshadows tragedy, as brutal and selfish characters trip up George and Lenny on their way to realizing an impossible dream.
Of Mice and Men packs one hundred quick pages with spare, penetrating writing and dialog that reads true out of the mouths of authentic characters. At the heart of this tale is the dynamic between Lenny and his protector; their bond makes the inevitable conclusion all the more powerful. Do not be surprised if you read it in one sitting.