I've read quite a lot of books by Stainbeck so far, and this is the first one I recall that doesn't happen mostly in California (well, maybe except Travels with Charley, but that's not fiction). Rather, the winter of our discontent is set in an imaginary small town on Long Island.

This book is different from his other works in additional ways, or at least this is how it appeared to me. In Steinbeck's other books, one thing I liked the most was the simple plot. Everything was quite obvious from the start, and the author didn't attempt to obscure the future. In "The winter..." I felt differently, however. Here it appears as if there was an attempt to conceal the plot, like in some detective or thriller book, but the attempt wasn't too successful. Maybe it's hard to explain, but there indeed was a different feeling about it.

The same happened with the moral message of the book. Steinbeck usually conveys his views of life effortlessly through his characters. Here, the lesson was a bit too banal not to be told in a more straight-forward manner.

There were also lots of things I liked about the book. For example, the whole line of never knowing what goes on inside other people. The author comes back to this point again and again, especially through the thoughts of the main character. I found this point interesting.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book, but somewhat less than Steinbeck's other novels. Since his standard is so high and I consider him one of the best novelists I've ever read, this can still mean it's a pretty good book.