1947 "Second printing before publication; Third printing February 1947" stated on copyright page; The Viking Press publishers, New York; hardbound; quite good condition with unmarked pages; Ex Libris owner sticker inside front cover; dust jacket is rough with tears and wear.
The Wayward Bus is a novel by American author John Steinbeck, originally published in 1947. The novel's epigraph is a passage from 15th-century English play Everyman, with its archaic English intact; the quotation refers to the transitory nature of humanity. Although considered one of Steinbeck's weaker novels at the time of its original publication, The Wayward Bus was financially more successful than any of his previous works.
Steinbeck dedicated this novel to "Gwyn", thought to be a reference to his second wife Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple divorced less than a year after the book was published.
No single character dominates The Wayward Bus. The viewpoint shifts frequently from one character to another, often taking the form of internal monologue so that we are experiencing a given character's thoughts. Much of the novel's length is simply devoted to establishing and delineating the various characters.
This novel takes place firmly within the "Steinbeck country" of California's Central Valley (although the three primary locations described are all fictional): most of the narrative occurs at Rebel Corners, a crossroads 42 miles south of a San Ysidro, California that is described as being north of Los Angeles. Juan Chicoy (half-Mexican, half-Irish) maintains a small bus, nicknamed "Sweetheart". He earns his living as a mechanic, and by ferrying passengers between Rebel Corners and San Juan de la Cruz. The larger Greyhound Bus Company serves both of those locations on separate routes, but does not have service connecting the two.
Juan and his wife Alice also own a small lunch counter at Rebel Corners.
The Chicoys supplement their income by selling food, coffee and candy to people who pass through on the bus route. Rebel Corners is such an obscure place that nobody actually lives there except for the Chicoys and their employees of the moment. Alice is devoted to her marriage but is in all other ways a deeply unhappy woman, who despises and distrusts all other women...