Monday, February 24, 2014

What Is Pushed Down Will Rise Up

The Moon is DownThe Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Short and bitter sweet, The Moon is Down shows what becomes of docile countryfolk when they are invaded and subjugated.

Not sure what to expect from this lesser known work by Steinbeck, my first impression after a few pages was that I was in for a light comedy, a sort of Catch-22 anti-war declaration, apparently with silly citizens and gullible army officers acting out a daffy pre-"Hogan's Heroes" farce.

But then it turned serious and dark, and actually hopeful. There are small heroes, tiny victories. The struggle is not valiant. There are no action-packed depictions. It is furtive. Victory over their oppressors is implied.

Aspects of The Moon is Down had a deja vu familiarity about them and then one particular scene jarred my memory and sent me back 30 years or more to a TV version of All Quiet on the Western Front. In it actor Richard Thomas (aka "John Boy") plays a German. I think in the early 80s he was trying to get away from his good-guy Waltons persona. Playing a Nazi would do it. Well anyway, the scene in question is not, to my recollection, from All Quiet..., but rather from this book. I hope Steinbeck got some credit.

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