Sian Cain of The Guardian writes:
John Steinbeck’s wife Gwyn Conger Steinbeck describes the author as “a sadistic man” and a serial womaniser, in a newly unearthed memoir found in Wales, which is set to be published for the first time this week.
“Like so many writers, he had several lives, and in each he was spoilt, and in each he felt he was king,” she wrote. “From the time John awoke to the time he went to bed, I had to be his slave.”
By her account, Steinbeck rarely showed affection to her or their two sons, Thomas and John Jr, and had never wanted any children. When she was experiencing problems during her pregnancy with John Jr, Steinbeck told her that she had “complicated” his life during a busy period of writing. When John Jr arrived prematurely in 1946, she recalls Steinbeck telling her: “I wish to Christ he’d die, he’s taking up too much of your fucking time.” She identifies the conversation as “the moment when love died”.