A lovely little novel about a few friends living in the hills of California outside of Monterey. They’re essentially bums, drunks and ne’er do wells, but they wind up resident in a house in those hills, and they manage to put together, for a few years anyway, a life with meaning and beauty. Steinbeck’s narrator is a little bit nineteenth-century omniscient and patronising, but he means well too. So the reader will forgive him. Not as beautiful as Of Mice and Men, but way ahead of the big novels such as Grapes of Wrath, where Steinbeck’s vision collapses in on itself.