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Carolyn Chute

The Beans of Egypt, Maine (Paperback)

Average Rating:out of 5 stars
Walmart # 559653290
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About This Item

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The Beans of Egypt, Maine introduced the world to the notorious, unforgettable Bean clan of small town Egypt, Maine--from wild man Reuben, an alcoholic who can't seem to keep himself out of jail; to his cousins, the perpetually pregnant Roberta, and Beal, a man gentle by temperament but violent in defeat who marries his pious neighbor, Earlene Pomerleau before poverty kills him. Through her story of the Beans's struggle with their inner demons to survive against hardship and societal ignorance, Chute emerged as a writer of immense humanity and unparalleled insight into a world most of us knew little of--if we'd recognized it at all.

Specifications

Publisher
Grove Atlantic
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
ENG
Number of Pages
281
Author
Carolyn Chute
Title
The Beans of Egypt, Maine
ISBN-13
9780802143594
Publication Date
September, 2008
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.00 x 6.00 x 1.50 Inches
ISBN-10
0802143598

Customer Comments

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Average Rating:(3.5)out of 5 stars
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Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
This is one of the odd...
This is one of the oddest books I've ever read As another reviewer mentioned, the characters are almost uniformly unlikable; the setting, in an extreme povery zone in Maine, is off-putting; the plotline is minimal. Nevertheless, Chute manages to hold your interest and somehow makes you care about the characters. The book abounds in grotesque scenes and ugly actions. Still, you feel that the book somehow presents a true picture of what life is like on the underside of the American dream. I was not happy with the author's afterword to this edition, and it's quite apparent that she has a considerable axe to grind. Even so, this book is well worth a read; it's sort of like a post-modern "Grapes of Wrath" without the redemption factor.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
What a horribly depres...
What a horribly depressing book. The characters were vile and disgusting. Their lives were violent, bleak and empty. Not one character had any redeeming quality. I struggled to read the book, as each chapter saw the characters falling deeper and deeper into hopelessness and living as though dead. Glad I'm done with it.
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars
This is one of the odd...
This is one of the oddest books I've ever read As another reviewer mentioned, the characters are almost uniformly unlikable; the setting, in an extreme povery zone in Maine, is off-putting; the plotline is minimal. Nevertheless, Chute manages to hold your interest and somehow makes you care about the characters. The book abounds in grotesque scenes and ugly actions. Still, you feel that the book somehow presents a true picture of what life is like on the underside of the American dream. I was not happy with the author's afterword to this edition, and it's quite apparent that she has a considerable axe to grind. Even so, this book is well worth a read; it's sort of like a post-modern "Grapes of Wrath" without the redemption factor.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
What a horribly depres...
What a horribly depressing book. The characters were vile and disgusting. Their lives were violent, bleak and empty. Not one character had any redeeming quality. I struggled to read the book, as each chapter saw the characters falling deeper and deeper into hopelessness and living as though dead. Glad I'm done with it.
This is one of the oddest books I've ever read As another reviewer mentioned, the characters are almost uniformly unlikable; the setting, in an extreme povery zone in Maine, is off-putting; the plotline is minimal. Nevertheless, Chute manages to hold your interest and somehow makes you care about the characters. The book abounds in grotesque scenes and ugly actions. Still, you feel that the book somehow presents a true picture of what life is like on the underside of the American dream. I was not happy with the author's afterword to this edition, and it's quite apparent that she has a considerable axe to grind. Even so, this book is well worth a read; it's sort of like a post-modern "Grapes of Wrath" without the redemption factor.
What a horribly depressing book. The characters were vile and disgusting. Their lives were violent, bleak and empty. Not one character had any redeeming quality. I struggled to read the book, as each chapter saw the characters falling deeper and deeper into hopelessness and living as though dead. Glad I'm done with it.
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Chutes first book, an...

Chute's first book, and a true masterpiece. You will hate the heroes, the action, the plot-- just about everything about this book is unpleasant, but it's so true there's no way to argue with it. It's a love story that doesn't make you feel good.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

This is one of my all ...

This is one of my all time favorite books!! I can't tell you how many times I have re-read it.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

This is one of the odd...

This is one of the oddest books I've ever read As another reviewer mentioned, the characters are almost uniformly unlikable; the setting, in an extreme povery zone in Maine, is off-putting; the plotline is minimal. Nevertheless, Chute manages to hold your interest and somehow makes you care about the characters. The book abounds in grotesque scenes and ugly actions. Still, you feel that the book somehow presents a true picture of what life is like on the underside of the American dream. I was not happy with the author's afterword to this edition, and it's quite apparent that she has a considerable axe to grind. Even so, this book is well worth a read; it's sort of like a post-modern "Grapes of Wrath" without the redemption factor.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

Back in the mid-1980s ...

Back in the mid-1980s The Beans of Egypt, Maine was a very popular book, but since that time it seems to have faded from view. Decades later, I have finally gotten around to reading it. This collection of interrelated short stories about the hardscrabble lives of the redoubtable Bean clan is filled with fantastical elements such as creepy skin conditions, hissing babies, and unusual eye colors, as well as more standard plot points like poverty and incest. These make for a very strange reading experience. The writing is striking in places; however, I found the large cast of characters and loose storytelling confusing. I have no immediate plans to read Chute's other books set in Egypt, Maine.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

I felt compelled to fi...

I felt compelled to finish this book even though I wasn't really enjoying it. I am not a fan of the author's writing style; to choppy for my taste. The story is about the Bean family and the extreme poverty they live with. There are so many questionable sexual relationships in this story, the author states it's not incest, but I'm not sure what else to call it. I was trying to find a redeeming quality in just one of the characters in the novel, but, alas, that was not to be. I have Chute's other two books in my library and now I wonder if I will take the plunge and read those.

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