Ancient pagan beliefs, the great Greek epics, and the
Bible all inform this extraordinary novel, which occupied Steinbeck for more
than five difficult years.
While fulfilling his dead father’s dream of creating a
prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent
tree on the farm embodies his father’s spirit. His brothers and their families
share in Joseph’s prosperity, and the farm flourishes—until one brother,
frightened by Joseph’s pagan belief, kills the tree, allowing disease and
famine to descend on the farm.
Set in familiar Steinbeck country, To
a God Unknown is a mystical tale that explores one man’s attempt to control
the forces of nature and, ultimately, to understand the ways of God and the
forces of the unconscious within.
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