This novel is sent in 1960 in a small New England town. The narrator/protagonist is a grocery store clerk whose family helped to found the town. He is only a grocery store clerk now because his father lost the family fortune. This book is a kind of study of the successes of man and what motivates men to success, or not. The tone of the book was strange and I felt anxious as I read - as though the discontent was a tangible thing in the words of the book.
Ethan is a clerk who is discontent but somehow unaware of this until his fortune is read and he is told that he will become wealthy. At this point, the discontent of his family with their economic situation boils to the surface. Ethan begins to realize that he also is discontent and begins to plot various ways by which to make money. He begins to study and question the morals by which he was raised and wonder about those that haven't got such morals.
The language of the book is wonderful to read but again the tone was difficult at times. The end leaves you somewhat unsure as to the actual outcome. You think you know the path that will occur but there's a chance that it didn't work out that way. We'll never know.
I highly recommend this book along with all others by Steinbeck.