Read Cannery Row by John Steinbeck Online

cannery-row

A Depression era portrait of people living in an area near a sardine fishery in Monterey, CA known as Cannery Row. From the opening of the novel: "Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chippedA Depression era portrait of people living in an area near a sardine fishery in Monterey, CA known as Cannery Row. From the opening of the novel: "Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, 'whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,' by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, 'Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,' and he would have meant the same thing."...

Title : Cannery Row
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781580601092
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Cannery Row Reviews

  • Jason
    2019-04-26 23:12

    Man, I love Steinbeck. I love the simplicity of his characters and the humdrum feeling their lives evoke. I love the indigence of his settings and the candidness with which these characters accept their conditions. I love how quietly he frames his stories with comments on fatalism, while still revealing to us the potential for happiness that pushes at its surface, trying to elbow its way out. At its core, the Steinbeck novel want us to figure out how to embrace the cards life has dealt us. It knows that the sooner we do, the sooner that happiness can become ours for the taking. It might be a fatalistic coin we’re being asked to pocket, but it’s a coin on which has been embossed a seal of optimism.But he certainly doesn’t make it very easy. The characters in his books are so far down the economic ladder you need a pair of binoculars to find them. And when you do spot them, you discover they are haggling over nickels and frogs. You almost want to step in and give them a Lowe’s gift card, just to make things a little easier for them. But Steinbeck characters don’t need your damn Lowe’s gift card. The point is not to move up that ladder; it’s to find comfort with the rung you’re already on. If they can recognize that, why can’t you?And that’s the thing about Steinbeckian characters: they often possess a deeper level of knowledge and understanding than their financial statuses—or their grammar—would otherwise suggest. There are also usually one or two who stand out from the rest for their capacity to grasp and relay human need. Where Ma Joad was just such a character in The Grapes of Wrath, it is Doc who lays it to us straight in Cannery Row.“The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”Ruminating on the contradictory nature of being human, wherein one’s needs are in direct competition with one’s moral goals, Doc reminds us what’s worth appreciating about Mack and his Flophouse friends. Sure, they manipulate a situation for an advantageous edge if they can, and sure their idea of a party would make Clarissa Dalloway scream in mortified horror, but when all is said and done, they are honest with their friends and true to themselves in their dealings, and that is what makes their lives—at least that part of it—worth emulating.So keep your Lowe’s gift cards. They are not wanted here.

  • Brina
    2019-05-20 15:57

    One of my favorite childhood memories was my family vacation to California the year I turned nine. On that trip one of our stops was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As a lover of all things marine biology I was captivated by the flora and fauna of the aquarium for an entire day. Before there was an aquarium near Monterey's beach front, the city was home to a few block stretch of fish and fruit canneries so eloquently portrayed in Steinbeck's Cannery Row, the author's homage to depression era Monterey. In this telling historical fiction, the Nobel Laureate creates archetypes of characters who made central California home during a trying time in American history.Depression era Monterey, California is a quiet community comprised of canneries, whore houses, a few general stores, and one biologist named Doc who is forever tinkering with experiments in his laboratory. Most people are short on funds and use the barter system to get by and many creatively create homes out of deserted steam ovens and warehouses. Despite being short on funds, liquor is always flowing, whore house business is prosperous, and most people appear for the most part happy with their station in life despite the lack of money. Mack and his gang of delinquents call a warehouse owned by Lee Chong home in exchange for only shopping in his general store and never stealing his goods. They come up with one charade and adventure after another in attempt to earn enough money to get by. Often, Mack asks Doc if the gang can obtain him frogs or cats or other animals in exchange for spending money. Although Doc realizes that this gang is only after a good time, he usually resists because he shows them sympathy in their impoverished station in life when people are looking for a morale booster more so than bettering their place in society. Such is the life on cannery row in Monterey, California.Steinbeck writes in such a captivating style that makes him one of America's master story tellers. This book goes off on tangents that at times makes the story hard to follow; however, this is the nature of Mack's sense of going in the direction of whatever adventure is thrown at him. Yet, even if he is borrowing a car to go frogging or throwing a disastrous party at Doc's lab, his compass ends up on Cannery Row. I enjoyed Steinbeck's depictions of Monterey and the time period more so that Mack's adventures. When describing his cast of characters, Steinbeck got to the gist of the story and painted a picture of the time period whereas Mack's exploits at times took away from the rest of the good people of Monterey and left me wanting more knowledge of daily life in Monterey. In a book under two hundred pages, I was able to read quickly from chapter to chapter to discover how life in Monterey and how each character coped with the times of nationwide depression.One facet of this novella that left me wanting more was the minimal development of female characters. Mary Talbot made the most of her situation by joining the Bloomer League and throwing parties, and eventually she threw a pregnancy party for herself. Mrs. Malloy made the best out of living inside a steam oven but little is said about her character and interests. The most development given to female characters in Cannery Row is that of Madam Dora and her whores. It appears as though Dora fancies Doc but there is little to advance the story line. Otherwise, the whores simply exist to provide a good time to fishermen and canners and other men who are seeking a quick fix for their personal depression. I would have liked to see more character development for Dora, but as this book focused on the exploits of Mack and his gang, Steinbeck simply did not have the space to focus on each character as he would in a full length novel.Cannery Row demonstrates Steinbeck's story telling skills while also painting a picture of California during the depression. Most people appeared to desire a good time and quick fix for their troubles without contemplating long term solutions for their own and the country's money troubles. The only character who had foresight was Doc who behind the scenes was creating the basis for what would be Monterey's famed aquarium. I enjoyed reading this novella, which I liked more than the last Steinbeck story that I read, and it left me desiring to return to his work sometime in the future.4 stars

  • Dolors
    2019-05-11 16:21

    Why does Steinbeck's narrative voice entice me so, I've been asking myself over the past few days. In my second reading of this novella, which has become a favorite of mine, I realized that it's his unshakeable belief in mankind. Steinbeck reinvents the concept of family and expands its boundaries with his blatant love for humanity. Nobody is homeless in Cannery Row, not even imps or prostitutes, destitute painters or big-hearted biologists, mentally impaired kids or immigrant shopkeepers. Even mongrels and frogs are treated with decorum in this picturesque portrait of comradeship in Monterrey, California.Interweaving a wide array of anecdotes with symbolic connotations, Steinbeck paints decent lives for the dispossessed that endure the sentence of social marginalization. Unexpected dignity comes in the form of reciprocal support, selfless loyalty and the humbling acceptance of the foibles of human condition and, as if by some sort of magic, the unappealing milieu of rattling caravans, crumbling shacks and noisy honky-tonks constitute an enchanting place where people live for themselves and need very little to reach serenity of mind.The spell of Steinbeck’s soothing prose settles in and Mack and the boys, troublesome rascals, become the Beauties, the Graces and the Virtues of this vibrant community. Doc, whose faith in the goodness of mankind is as fervent as his devotion to the mysteries of marine biology, is the converging point that brings out the best in his fellowmen, modeled after his creator. His compassion is genuine and carries not a hint of condescendence, and so when he listens to his friends’ predicaments or to one of his albums of Gregorian music at the hour of the pearl, he is equally overcome by the joy of extending unconditional friendship or by his not unwelcome loneliness.But watch out. Don’t allow yourself to be misled. Steinbeck, like Doc, doesn’t offer a glorified, syrupy version of the hardships of life while sermonizing on the benefits of collective insurgency; his clear-cut vision synthesizes the healing compassion that human beings are capable of and inspires us to find poetry in the most prosaic, even the most repulsive of things.There is an irresistible modesty in Steinbeck’s minimalistic yet deeply charged prose. The half-deprecating, half-dramatic tone in which he paints these stories gives a tragicomic intensity to the clumsy, reprovable characters and tinges their daily tribulations with an authentic tenderness that pierces right through the thickest skins.Cannery Road is a toast to ordinariness, an unabashed portrayal of men at his worst shinning with the best of human condition, an ode to the invisible treasures of life.I dare you who read to look at the world through Steinbeck’s eyes.And you will see a cocktail prepared with drink leftovers and cheap whisky become a delicatessen, if shared in good company.A disastrous birthday party; the much-desired present that restores lost innocence.The high tides and waves splashing on the rocks under the piers; the perfect moonlight sonata at the time after the light has come and before the sun has risen.And Black Marigolds that wither with the evanescence of life; an eternal blessing.Even now. Even here. Even for us.

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-04-30 23:23

    “Doc would listen to any kind of nonsense and turn it into wisdom. His mind had no horizon and his sympathy had no warp. He could talk to children, telling them very profound things so that they understood. He lived in a world of wonders, of excitement. He was concupiscent as a rabbit and gentle as hell. Everyone who knew him was indebted to him. And everyone who thought of him thought next, 'I really must do something nice for Doc.’” Cannery Row Doc is one of those fictional characters that never leaves a reader’s memory. This book is dedicated to a man by the name of Ed Ricketts who was a marine biologist with a lab, like Doc, on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. Whenever I discover that a fictional character is based on a real person, it seems to lend extra life to that fictional person. It puts bones under the skin and blood in the veins. It becomes evident, very quickly, how much John Steinbeck admired Ricketts. The biologist has a profound impact on his writing and also on the writing of Joseph Campbell, who, like Steinbeck, lived in Monterey and spent as much time in Ricketts’s lab as possible. The influence of Ricketts on Steinbeck is palpable in The Pearl, Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday, The Log of the Sea of Cortez, The Moon is Down, and The Grapes of Wrath. Ricketts’ death, killed tragically young when his car is hit by a Del Monte Express Train just up the hill from Cannery Row, has a profound impact on many people. Steinbeck’s writing suffers after the death of his friend, and in the opinion of many critics, his writing after 1948 is diminished, except for his final epic East of Eden. Edward RickettsIt makes me wonder, would we know John Steinbeck’s name if he’d never met Ed Ricketts? Or what if he had never been influenced by what he experienced while living in Cannery Row?It is a place at the right time tailor made to inspire a writer. “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitant are, as the man once said, "whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches," by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, ‘Saints and angels and martyrs and holymen’ and he would have meant the same thing.” Lee Chong runs the grocery store which is really a general store because you can find just about anything that you need and most things you never knew you wanted. Lee never discounts. Everything is the price it was when it was first carried in the door. He “rents out” a building he acquired as trade for an overdue grocery bill to a group of layabout guys who work when they have to, but choose not to work when they absolutely don’t need any money. It was interesting to see a bit into the mind of Lee as he ponders the universe and weighs the benefits and risks of any investment. He has an ongoing financial battles with the boys from The Palace Flophouse and Grill, which is the rather creative name the guys decided to use to refer to the Lee Chong storage shed, as they try to tempt him into their many doomed enterprises. There is also Dora Flood who manages the Bear Flag Restaurant, but she is more accurately described as Madam Flood as the Bear Flag Restaurant isn’t a restaurant, but a whorehouse. She gives twice as much to charitable organizations as anyone else. She bends over backwards (Not so much over a bed anymore) to help people in need. She never turns a whore out when they get too old to be productive. "Some of them don't turn three tricks a month, but they go right on eating three meals a day." She is a whore with the heart of gold, but with an astute head for trying to not agitate the more conservative wives of the community.Ed Ricketts’s lab on Cannery Row.Doc is lonely, but he isn’t alone. He doesn’t have a John Steinbeck living next door or a Joseph Campbell living down the street, but he never seems to lack for female companionship. Whenever the Sistine Choir or Gregorian Chants can be heard coming from Doc’s laboratory everyone knows he is in the midst of wooing well on his way to fornicating. Doc takes a road trip down the coast of California to collect some specimens for his laboratory. We travel along with him and as the towns are listed off...Salinas, Gonzales, King City, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara I had a distinct heart pain of longing for the Golden State. He stops off frequently to sample the local cuisine and also manages to cross a very unusual concoction off his bucket list. “If a man ordered a beer milkshake he'd better do it in a town where he wasn't known.”He orders more than once while on this trip a healthy slice of pineapple and blue cheese pie. It sounds so weird that I have to try it. Steinbeck sprinkles in some poetry from Black Marigolds by E. Powys Mathers. It is sensual and evocative poetry. Even nowDeath sends me the flickering of powdery lidsOver wild eyes and the pity of her slim bodyAll broken up with the weariness of joy;The little red flowers of her breasts to be my comfortMoving above scarves, and for my sorrowWet crimson lips that once I marked as mine. Steinbeck includes several stanzas and with each one I read my appreciation for Mathers continued to grow. This book is an ode to a friend, an ode to a period of time when I can tell Steinbeck may have felt most alive, and it is an ode to Cannery Row. A perfect storm of diverse elements that contributed to making Steinbeck one of the Great American Writers. There is a film version of the book starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger which I have queued up to watch sometime this week. It looks like they muck up the film version with a love story, but I will reserve judgment until I’ve actually watched it. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  • Lisa
    2019-05-17 21:17

    When it rains, and rains, and rains, I drink my morning coffee and think of sunny California. Of Steinbeck, of course! Not that the world is more perfect in his imagination than in my reality. Far from it. But it is dusty and dry, and that seems like a welcome change sometimes. His characters would of course drink their coffee, stare at the dust and hope for rain and mud. Such is the world! As there are countless wonderful real reviews of this classic already, but I feel I have to add my enthusiasm about spending delicious hours rereading Cannery Row, laughing tears of amusement and sorrow, I will offer a little prayer quote, as honest as can be, the absolute antithesis to the equally powerful, yet hypocritical rhetoric of an Elmer Gantry.“Our Father who art in nature, who has given the gift of survival to the coyote, the common brown rat, the English sparrow, the house fly and the moth, must have a great and overwhelming love for no-goods and blots-on-the-town and bums, and Mack and the boys. Virtues and graces and laziness and zest. Our Father who art in nature.” As it is Saturday, and I am a lazy bum, this will have to do for a review of an all time favourite.Amen. I rest my case.

  • Ben
    2019-04-24 22:21

    I first read this many years ago. Riddled with ADD, frozen by nervousness, and thrown-off by wack-ass hormones, I had trouble reading anything at the time, and this was no exception. A parable of my formerly wasted time on earth, I read it and got nothing out of it. Hell, I didn’t even remember I had read it until I started it (again) 10 days ago.But oh did I appreciate it this go-round. Steinbeck got me to like the kind of people that, at first judgment, I would deem ignorant, annoying, or maybe even dangerous. The kind of people with brains attuned to a totally different frequency than my own; people so different from myself, that I’d probably be pretty freaking uncomfortable if I met them. I’d maybe even feel threatened by them. This, of course, is not because Mack-and-his-motley-crew are actually bad guys. Sure they’re slick and they’ll take you for a ride if they can; but they almost always mean well, and they are not bad people. Mack and the boys aren’t enclosed by the excesses and goal-driven constructs that trap most of the population. They live in the moment and are free from most worries. They are content, and are therefore happy. The Doctor –- a very memorable character, and a hero of sorts to the people of Cannery Row -– says it best: "Look at them. There are your true philosophers. I think that Mack and the boys know everything that has ever happened in the world and possibly everything that will happen. I think they survive in this particular world better than other people. In a time when people tear themselves to pieces with ambition and nervousness and covetousness, they are relaxed. All of our so-called successful men are sick men, with bad stomachs, and bad souls, but Mack and the boys are healthy and curiously clean. They can do what they want. They can satisfy their appetites without calling them something else."Cannery Row was written and ordered expertly, with each chapter short but packing a punch. And while the characters for the most part remain pretty freakin’ lovable, Steinbeck -- true to life -- hits us with dark surprises throughout. People seem to have memories and favorite scenes from this novel that they recall years later: the dead girl, Henri the “painter,” the beer milkshake, the ice skater, to name a few. My favorite and most memorable scene was a full chapter, only a few pages long, in which Steinbeck takes one of his brilliantly dark detours from the main narrative, to tell us about a gopher -– yes, a gopher. In a vacant lot on Cannery Row, the gopher finds the perfect spot for a burrow. Through strategy, hard work, and passion, the gopher makes himself his ideal home. He loads up food for his future offspring, and enjoys his nice view and rich soil: he is set for life. But as time moves on, no female appears: he remains alone. The gopher gives up on his perfect home, and decides to move where he can find a mate.......and ends up choosing a spot in a nearby garden that is full of gopher traps.I started reading heavily a little over a year ago. Since then, I’ve had dashes of great love for humanity which have taken place more often, and have been more piercing, than those that took place before I was a hardcore bookster. Oh, I’m still secretly more of a hater than a lover, and ignorance still typically ticks me off. But thanks to reading novels like this, I understand and love my fellow human beings a little more. And if I could keep within me, all the time, those aforementioned dashes of pure, radiating love in my heart, I think I’d be perpetually happy. But you know, life is flighty. And these moments are few and far between. Then again, I’ll take what I can get.

  • karen
    2019-05-09 18:14

    how do i review cannery row? like all the steinbeck i have read, except the dead pony, of which i remember very little except not being too keen on it, it is saturated with these wonderful marginalized characters who are desperate and hopeless and yearning. but they are surviving. and there is so much beauty in the squalor. it reminds me in my feeling-parts of suttree, which is one of my all time favorite books. this book is full of such well-meaning ineptitude and many very serious things couched in an effortless prose that comes across as almost humorous, or rather, amused. i'm not sure how to articulate all that i am feeling for steinbeck right now. this one will never be my favorite, but its been so long since i read him, i am remembering why i always list him when rattling off favorite authors when cornered by someone who wants something "really american". this certainly qualifies. the frog story was the best thing i have read in a long time. it didn't escape five stars by much, but there's a visceral reaction i get to certain books that i didn't get here. but really - a fucking gem.

  • Kim
    2019-05-22 17:13

    I owe Mr. Steinbeck an apology. I am so shamed that I cannot even use the familiar 'John'. I have taken this beautiful story and mucked it up. I read about Lee Chong during a middle school basketball game, I learned of Dora Flood while riding the shuttle bus to work. I grew to love/hate Mack during a cheerleading competition filthy with Rihanna songs. I fell in love with Doc and Frankie and Darling while watching a traumatic brain injured patient freak out about his meds. I am not worthy. This series of stories is so…breathtaking. I may even go to California because of it… before it was Big Sur that made me think of leaving my treasured New England, but now… now I want to bask in the rubble of Cannery Row.Except, I can’t… can I? Because it is set in a time that is so far off my radar. It’s set when credit bought you cheap whiskey and Model T’s were interchangeable. When squatters could make an old cannery their home and when artists could pretend to be French and live in a partially built boat. Why do I wish for this? It’s depressing and everything feels soaked in sepia and I see pageboys and horny sailors and dare I say… ruffians? I am messed up.This is beautiful and sad and romantic and hopeful and tragic and wistful…. and….Everyone seems to have a favorite story… the gopher, the party, the frog hunt. I can’t pinpoint one. I can only describe emotions and even then, I feel like I cheated and was only able to give in to them superficially. It’s really hard to take in “The word is a symbol and a delight which sucks up men and scenes, trees, plants, factories, and Pekinese. Then the Thing becomes the Word and back to Thing again, but warped and woven into a fantastic pattern. The Word sucks up Cannery Row, digests it and spews it out, and the Row has taken the shimmer of the green worlds and the sky-reflecting seas.” while the bus driver is laying on his horn and swerving dangerously around a Subaru. I love every part of this book. Every word. It conjures up whimsy and makes me feel like there is more to life than vampires and reality shows and twitter and… and….I also want to give a shout out to the reviews that many of my friends have posted. Each are in itself a chapter, a slice of the Row. I love that Sarah read this to her friends during a trip from Portland to Salinas. I love that Ben is reminded of teenage fears that karen uses the phrase ‘well-meaning ineptitude’ and that I now have an image of Loganflirting it up with Steinbeck. Thank you, Mr. Steinbeck, thank you goodreaders, and thank you Carole Louise Dahl of Olympic Valley, CA for giving away this book so that I could buy it for a quarter at a library sale. I am a better person for having read this. on a side note... does it detract from my appreciation if I mention how hot Steinbeck was?

  • Lawyer
    2019-04-26 18:10

    John Steinbeck's Nostalgia: Cannery RowIt won no Pulitzer Prize. It does not figure into the reason John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature. Yet, I love this book. Cannery Row evokes a place that no longer exists, covering a period roughly that of the Great Depression in Monterey, California.Steinbeck drew on his friendship with Ed Ricketts, a marine biologist , as his central character "Doc" for his novel. They had been friends since the early 1930s. Ricketts taught Steinbeck marine biology. Ricketts real persona is contained in The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Like "Doc," Ricketts operated a marine laboratory, Pacific Biological Laboratories. Steinbeck was a fifty percent partner in the lab. Upon the publication of Cannery Row, Ricketts found himself a celebrity, something which exasperated him. However, he forgave Steinbeck his unwanted celebrity for he understood Steinbeck had written the novel with no sense of malevolence. The two had intended an expedition to study marine biology off the coast of Alaska in 1948. However, it didn't happen. Rickett's car was hit by a train. Ricketts was killed.Steinbeck would return to the world of Cannery Row with the novel Sweet Thursday, published in 1954. Ed Ricketts lived on in Steinbeck's memory, with Doc returning as the novel's central character.The prologue of Cannery Row grabs the reader and shakes him, much as a terrier shakes a rat.“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitant are, as the man once said, "whores, pimps, gambler and sons of bitches," by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, "Saints and angels and martyrs and holymen" and he would have meant the same thing.” Steinbeck prepares the reader for a world of light and darkness. What follows is a series of vignettes depicting the best of life revolving around the lives of residents of the row, interspersed with Steinbeck's digressions from the plot showing the darker aspects of life.Now, take Doc. He's the type guy who tips his hats to dogs. And they smile back at him. Doc is nice to everybody on the row. And everybody wants to do something nice for Doc. Which leads to the relatively simple plot of the book. How to do something nice for Doc.It's Mack and the Boys who start the movement to do something good for Doc. Mack and the Boys are the homeless guys who live in the Palace Flophouse and Grill. The men without family, rarely have jobs, but who know they can go to Doc with any kind of nonsense and he can turn it into some kind of wisom. Dora is the madam of the Bear Flag Cafe, the brothel that brooks no profanity be spoken therein. Dora of the orange hair and heart of gold who feeds homeless families. Dora, who operates an illegal business and therefore is the queen of donations, fifty dollars to the policeman's ball, rather than five. Dora's where a girl is never turned out because she's never to old, who may have only turned three tricks in the past month but still gets three meals a day.Then there is Lee Chong, owner and operator of the Heavenly Bamboo Grocery, who owns more in debt than in actual receipts received but always seems to lives comfortably. Where good will is a currency of its own.No, there was no Pulitzer for this novel for Steinbeck. But I love this book. Steinbeck captures the essence of life in all its raucous spirit. Its rioutous happiness of living. The quirky nature of community in the many voices that form to create its own ode to joy and its lament to the sadness that befalls each of us. But there is never a dirge. Not ever.So there is no The Grapes of Wrath here. No Of Mice and Men. Cannery Row makes me glad to be alive. It makes me seek out the Docs of the world and do something good for him and hope I find Mack and the boys, Dora and the Girls, and Lee Chong to help.

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-05-17 19:24

    Steinbeck wrote one book about the Arthurian legends. However, he wrote a few books using the Arthurian legend model and Cannery Row is one of them. Here we have a marvelously fun tale, almost a tall-tale, about the bums, prostitutes and common folk living on the California coast south of the San Francisco bay area in and about Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea during the Great Depression. Mischievous scamps get up to no good and little comes of it. All of this is inconsequential and yet intrinsic to human nature. I finished Cannery Row a week or so ago. It's taken me this long to think about how I wanted to review it. That's not because it's a particularly deep and thought-provoking book. I just needed to examine my feelings, and besides, I feel like Steinbeck's work deserves reflection, even his lesser work. Is this a lesser Steinbeck work? It's heralded by many and often included in "top Steinbeck" lists. I don't see it. Don't get me wrong, it's quite good, 3.5 stars good I'd say, but it's more of a collection of character sketches loosely tied together rather than a fully realized novel. Ah, but they are incredible sketches!Cannery Row and Tortilla Flats fall into that Arthurian legend model as stated earlier. These are adventure stories in which "heroes" go on quests in an attempt to obtain whatever is their holy grail. Are there morals and lessons to be learned along the way? Sure. Is any of this meant to be much more than entertainment? I don't think so, but that's me. This is highly enjoyable and I think that's what Steinbeck was going for.

  • Maxwell
    2019-05-04 18:00

    Funny and wonderfully written. Steinbeck captures the spiritedness of his characters so well. And he describes the landscape beautifully. I'm glad I finally got around to reading this one!

  • Maciek
    2019-04-22 23:19

    "It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men — kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling — are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest — sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest — are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second."Cannery Row is a real place. What John Steinbeck describes as "a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream" is a street in the city of Monterey in California, the site of many canning factories, now defunct; formerly known as Ocean View Avenue, the city government officially renamed the street to Cannery Row to honor Steinbeck and his novel.The aim of Cannery Row is not as much to provide a coherent story with beginning or end, but to capture the mood and time of a specific place and closely knit community - the eponymous street and areas surrounding it, and the people living there. The novel features a cast of colorful characters who live a modest but largely happy existence. The main crux of Cannery Row is very simple - a group of well intending jobless locals decide to throw a party in celebration of Doc, their friend who is well liked by everyone; despite their good intentions the effort does not exactly go as planned. Where the novel succeeds is its sheer humanity of the many inhabitants of Cannery Row: Lee Chong, the Chinese grocer who sells his goods on credit to everyone but apparently manages to run a profitable business; Doc, the gentle and intelligent man who studies local sea creatures and is an endless well of wisdom and intelligence, beloved by everybody; Mac, the leader of the local derelict who could be president if he only wanted to - but doesn't. This isn't Steinbeck of the The Grapes of Wrath, which is possibly his greatest book - with all its epic symbolism and gritty realism of extreme poverty and consuming hunger and misery; Cannery Row is a much more relaxed novel in the tradition of another of his early works, Tortilla Flat, which also featured a cast of whimsical protagonist enjoying what life brought to them, despite being poor as a tribe of mice. Cannery Row might seem a departure from realism into idealism for Steinbeck - the lives of its protagonists are idealized and romanticized, their poverty made enviable; despite not having much or indeed anything at all, they enjoy an existence more content than those who live in the more prestigious parts of town. Accordingly, at times characterization resorts to stereotyping: the unemployed men are benevolent, joyful swindlers, and the local madam runs her brothel with respect and care for her girls and has a heart of gold. The novel is told via a series of almost disconnected vignettes, many of which do not have much to do with the main "plot" but provide a broad and enveloping image of the Row and its inhabitants. Although most of the anecdotes and stories are usually heartwarming and endearing, several end in violence and even tragedy, which is a conscious choice of Steinbeck reminding both his characters and readers that they are not experiencing a fantasy, but real life.But the beauty of the book is that it allows us to dream a fantasy in the real life; and even though the world us contains death and misery, it also contains joy, happiness and love. In the end, Cannery Row is not a utopia, but a novel of optimism, and manages to be one without being overly maudlin and artificial. With plenty of great, quotable writing, Cannery Row is a brief but surprisingly affecting book, recommended both to Steinbeck fans and newcomers.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-05-16 20:16

    I'm just really enjoying going back and reading the Steinbeck I missed, now that I realize what a beautiful writer he is. I ended up reading this because I read Monterey Bay from the Tournament of Books longlist, where the author took Steinbeck's research, characters, place and time and wrote her own novel. It made me want to read the original, which I wasn't even sure was a novel at first. One of the characters is based on Ed Ricketts, who Steinbeck writes about taking a journey with in The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and dedicates this book to. The language! Such language. "Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.And the characters! Here's an example:"Mack and the boys, too, spinning in their orbits. They are the Virtues, the Graces, the Beauties of the hurried mangled craziness of Monterey and the cosmic Monterey where men in fear and hunger destroy their stomachs in the fight to secure certain food, where men hungering for love destroy everything lovable about them."And here's one for the road, maybe a bit applicable in 2017:"'It has always seemed strange to me,' said Doc. 'The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second."

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-24 16:10

    Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1), John Steinbeckتاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیستم ماه فوریه سال 1977 میلادیعنوان: راسته کنسرو سازان (راسته کنسرو سازی)؛ نویسنده: جان اشتاین (استاین) بک؛ مترجم: سیروس طاهباز؛ تهران، کتابخانه ایرانمهر، فرانکلین، 1344؛ در 239 ص؛ داستان در شهر ساحلی مونتری جریان دارد؛ در محله ای با عنوان: راسته کنسرو سازان (کنسرو سازی)؛ خیابانی که حاشیه هایش پر است از ماهی هایی که قرار است به کنسرو تبدیل شوند. قشر پایین جامعه و کارگرها آنجا زندکی میکنند. حوادث در خلال جنگ جهانی دوم روی میدهند و نویسنده زندگی بومی ساکنان آن منطقه را روایت میکند، و از شرایط زندگیشان مینویسد.این رمان جزو آثار پرخواننده ی اشتاین بک است و همانند بیشتر کتابهای این نویسنده در فضای رکود اقتصادی روایت میشود و زندگی فقرا و مشکلات آنها را بیان میکند. خوانشگر در این رمان با تصویری روشن از تقلای انسانها برای ادامه س زندگی روبه رو میشود. «راسته کنسرو سازان» یا راسته کنسر سازی اثری ست که ته مایه های طنز هم دارد و در آن شکستهای آدمیان در کنار شادیهای کوچک نشان داده میشود. در رمان: رفاقت، قناعت، اخلاق، پرهیز از نگاه سطحی به انسانها، و حس نوستالژی تاکید شده اسن. «راسته کنسرو سازی» مکانی واقعی در کالیفرنیا است که در چندین شعر و داستان از جمله در همین اثر اشتاین بک به نام آنجا اشاره شده است. ا. شربیانی

  • brian
    2019-05-03 17:05

    20 pages in i immediately noticed the sherwood anderson influence and shot off an email to my friend xxx, urging him to read it on the flight to nyc. his girlfriend of many years just left him and i figured cannery row might inspire. his response was... um... deranged? check it:"brian - had a hell of a day. almost got shot down on San Julien this afternoon. Bullet smoke so close I could taste it. Almost got arrested breaking up a Guatemalan knife fight, too. got robbed $40, too. But I bought some crack. I'm smoking some right now here in the upstairs office at XXX -- can I do a paidout for this? I am very serious. I have the crack for you. Anyway, I'll save you some. I made a makeshift pipe out of a red Paper*Mate FLEXGRIP ultra med. pen. If it's your pen, I am sorry.my favorite thing about crack is that it tastes like cheap grape soda. I'm jamming dark side of the moon too, so fuck you --I love you.Steinbeck: my first mainmost man after Twain when I was "coming up". I got seriously into Steinbeck in my Wonder Years thru early 20s. Had to stop reading him just so I could save something of his for later in life. Grapes of Wrath, The Winter of Our Discontent, In Dubious Battle, Cannery Row, To a God Unknown, all FUCKING amazing. Uncle Sherwood is THEE branch above Steinbeck, Saroyan, Fante, Hemingway, Fitzgerald--they ALL cite him as being The Man.Well, wish you were here smoking crack with me. I'm taking some to NYC, but I'll save you hit.Love,xxx"i'm not gonna smoke crack. i promise.

  • ·Karen·
    2019-05-18 00:02

    This:Doc was collecting marine animals in the Great Tide Pool on the tip of the Peninsula. It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam, whipped by the combers that roll in from the whistling buoy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little water world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding, breeding animals.And as if Manifest Destiny has pushed the dreamers of America West, West as far as they can go, to the furthest seabord and then withdrawn like a tide, leaving them washed up in the stink, the tone, the dream that is Cannery Row, so we peer into this fabulous place and see the teeming life scurrying there. The combers roll over Cannery Row when the sardine fleet has made a catch and a wave of shining cars bring those who disappear into offices, and another wave of men and women come in trousers and rubber coats and oilcloth aprons, and clean and cut and pack the fish, but when the last fish has been cleaned and cut and packed and the boats are riding high in the water again, then this tide of workers retreats back up the hill to Monterey, and Cannery Row becomes itself again - quiet and magical. At dusk, always at dusk, the creatures of this pool creep out to fight and feed and breed. Just as in the Great Tide Pool, these men and women form an economy of their own, a system of interdependence, of borrowing and recycling and stealing, a delicately balanced cycle of taking and giving, one that judiciously sets the limits of giving without becoming a stoop, of taking without obvious exploitation. Warm, wise economics, where the entrepreneurs know when to forgive a loan in order to keep a customer, the chancers know when not to push their luck too far, and the Madam of the Whorehouse knows exactly how philanthropic she has to be to avoid being closed down. The men of the Palace Flophouse are, in the eyes of mainstream society no doubt slackers, no-hopers, scum. They literally live on the dregs of those who pay their way: Eddie is understudy bartender at La Ida. He keeps a gallon jar under the counter, that takes whatever is left in the glasses before he washes them. Sometimes, indeed, "if an argument or a song were going on at La Ida, or late at night when good fellowship had reached its logical conclusion, Eddie poured glasses half or two-thirds full into the funnel…..It was a source of satisfaction to him that nobody was out anything. He had observed that a man got just as drunk on half a glass as on a whole one, that is, if he was in the mood to get drunk at all.” Such wisdom. And this punch is a sensitively calibrated measure of the men’s development and refinement along the length of this short novel: it is delicately put to Eddie, just suppose, not complaining or anything, but just s’pose you had two or three jugs, put the whisky in one, the wine in another… By the end, Eddie has stopped putting beer in at all as all agree it gives a flat taste.The men from the Flophouse are beyond dreaming, their dignity rests in their having realised the fruitlessness of wanting. Not for them the ulcers and trussed up stricture of those who chase a false, materialist dream. Like most of the wonderful characters in the novel, they have accommodated themselves, have made their home in this place that offers them all they need: companionship, fun, and the contents of Eddie’s gallon jar. They provide the picaresque plot which consists of a crazy, hilarious Odyssey in search of frogs, a disastrous homecoming, and a second chance at a better staging of the party. Their Penelope at the centre, holding everything together, is Doc, the warm beating heart of Cannery Row, the man to whom everyone is grateful and to whom they long to demonstrate their appreciation and indebtedness. Interspersed between the lines of plot there is a wealth of other wonders: the hermit-crab like Malloys who have taken up residence in a disused boiler, Mary Talbot who puts on fantastic parties (view spoiler)[but the only guests are cats (hide spoiler)], a flagpole skater (what?), Josh Billings’ liver, Henri the French painter who was not really French, or named Henri, or really a painter come to that– oh I could go on and on.There are boundaries: poor William cannot break into this world. For some inexplicable reason no-one likes him. Although there is no real malice, there is nevertheless harm. And often there is a sudden breaking beyond boundaries: a yawning chasm of horror, an opening into another world in the eyes of a drowned girl or the single eye of the dreaded mysterious Chinaman who flap-flapped up the street each evening. But is this vision of the stink, the tone, the dream too romantic? Sentimental? Surely life at the littoral cannot have been a permanent party? The emptiness at the centre is subtly drawn, in delicate shades of parody in the form of the one and only character that sets up a home, prepares a nest, lays in a store of food, sits at the entrance and calls mournfully for a mate. That character is a lonely gopher who builds his burrow on the vacant lot of Cannery Row. And although it seems like an ideal position for a gopher home, there are no females. He has to move up the hill, to the more civilised, but risky part of town, where there is a dahlia garden. And traps put out every night. The men and women of Cannery Row feel that loss too, that lack of love that will create new life. They are not aware of it, but they feel that emptiness. It is not until the final, moving magnificent scene, when Doc reads them the sweeping, solemn, melancholy verses of the Sanskrit poem ‘Black Marigolds’ that their hollow centre finds expression, but they recognize the pain that crosses centuries and is theirs too.The fine introduction to this Penguin Classic edition, written by Susan Shillinglaw, informs me that Steinbeck was looking for a new start in 1939. He wrote to Carlton Sheffield, his college roommate. “I’ve worked the novel-I know it as far as I can take it. I never did think much of it-a clumsy vehicle at best. And I don’t know the form of the new but I know there is a new which will be adequate and shaped by the new thinking.”This. The new: a rich seam of brilliance.

  • Chloe
    2019-05-22 20:54

    This is the first Steinbeck that I've attempted to read as an adult. We had some brief flirtations during my teen years but never really hooked up. I think it was probably a wise choice. Now we've found each other as adults and can really appreciate each other's complexities and I can tell that I'll likely be making sweet love to Johnny S. for years to come.Cannery Row is a really brief read that features some of the most concise yet descriptive writing I've ever come across. Set in a small stretch of Monterey, California, the book tells the story of the town's inhabitants and their attempts to throw a party to show their appreciation for Doc, a marine collector who is generous almost to a fault. A simple plot, which makes the writing shine all the more. Whether he's describing the town's indigent or the short and exciting life of a tide pool, Steinbeck never fails to turn a phrase that is near poetry in its beauty. All prose should aspire to this degree of eloquence.

  • Teresa
    2019-05-17 17:12

    This book was very different from what I thought it would be. I envisioned mostly reading about the work in the canneries (it's mentioned but not a focus) and I thought it would be depressing (until I read a friend's review, which is, sadly, no longer on this site). Instead, it's a deceptively simple story (in terms of language) that evokes a range of emotions, humor and sadness all mixed up together, but it's never depressing.At first I was reminded of Winesburg, Ohio in that its focus is on one community and the stories are more like vignettes (though they do end up connecting in many ways); but it's quite different from the Anderson. Anderson can be philosophical from what I remember, while Steinbeck, for the most part, lets his story speak for itself, which may seem surprising coming from the man who wrote The Grapes of Wrath. Anderson's characters can't, or won't, communicate with each other; the denizens of Cannery Row don't have that problem. They certainly don't always communicate in words -- they read each others' faces, vocal tones and mannerisms; they remember past history, but they know each other -- and ultimately themselves -- very well. Most of them would never say the actual words, but they love each other too. The character of the young boy, Frankie, and the story of a gopher simply broke my heart. This slim book reinforces the idea that beauty and truth can be found in the unlikeliest of places, one of my favorite themes.

  • Brandice
    2019-05-18 21:04

    Cannery Row was a pleasant little book based in Monterey, California, my absolute favorite spot in the United States. The book has a single loose plot, focused on a group of central characters residing there, but several chapters divert to unrelated stories or sidenotes. This is something that would typically irritate me and impact my rating of the book but Steinbeck did well with it in Cannery Row. The loose plot focuses on the group of characters, who are all, in one way or another, trying to make something of themselves and deal with their own thoughts, such as failure, pain, and loneliness, among others. There is also a fair amount of scene setting and descriptions of Cannery Row and Monterey. ”The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”“It’s all fine to say ‘Time will heal everything, this too shall pass away. People will forget’ — and things like that when you’re not involved, but when you are there is no passage of time, people do not forget and you are in the middle of something that does not change.”I’ve only read one other Steinbeck book, Of Mice and Men, which was required in school. I remember liking it enough for required reading back then, but I really liked Cannery Row, even with it being quite different from the books I typically choose and enjoy.

  • Himanshu
    2019-05-07 17:04

    This book finds me in my making. It gives a color to it which isn't bright or striking, but pale, and subtle, and earthly. It has something of the universe in it. The concomitant pattern is so satisfactory to look at that it swells my heart and waters my eyes.Steinbeck is The Man.

  • Chris_P
    2019-05-08 19:04

    I think it's now safe to say that Steinbeck is my favorite American author of all times. In Cannery Row he captures a moment in time in the most vivid colors and imprints it on the only unperishable and eternal medium: paper. They say that every place, be it a town or a city, however small or big, has a distinct aura. A soul of some sort. And it's the people that live there that give shape to this soul and define its quality. To me Cannery Row, California was like the reflection of a part of me. Reading about those simple people living their simple lives in melancholy and joy acted like a sort of introspection. It was like something from inside me was projected on the pages like a film, with nostalgia being the ever-present soundtrack playing subtly on the background. A corner of the USA in the 1930s and Greece of the mid 2010s. When, through all this distance in space, time and conditions, you have managed to speak to the heart of even one single person, you know you have achieved something great.

  • Joe Valdez
    2019-05-21 17:17

    East of Eden is to Cannery Row as The Godfather is to Slacker. This sketch book wrapped up as a novel was the perfect complement to John Steinbeck's multigenerational family epic and reminded me of a scrappy independent movie that takes place on a few blocks of a town off the beaten path. No one character or relationship stands out. It's the sense of place that pervades. Set in the mid-1940s at roughly the same time the novel was published, Cannery Row defies a time stamp. I got the impression that many of the stories Steinbeck was telling had already vanished into the fog of history as California embarked on World War II, but no matter. By the time I finished the book, I wanted to wrap my belongings into a bindle and hitch a ride to Monterery.Most of the sketches here involve "Doc", a marine biologist and bachelor who resides in Western Biological. He spends his days making trips up and down the Pacific Coast plucking animals from the tide pools while in the evening, is given to playing opera music on his phonograph, drinking beer and entertaining the occasional female guest.From businessman to working girl, from Lee Chong's grocery to the Bear Flag Restaurant operated by Dora Flood as the best whorehouse in town, Doc is not only regarded as the most learned man in Monterey, but the most charitable. The local hobos would certainly agree. "The boys", whose elder statesman is a cunning fool named Mack, have taken up residence at an old warehouse they've dubbed the Palace Flophouse. Clever enough to resist working for a living and cursed enough to foul up almost anything they touch, Mack and the boys get it in their heads to do something nice for Doc. They decide to throw him a party. Funds for the party will be raised by gathering up frogs and selling them to Doc. Peril, pain and pathos ensue. Cannery Row might seem pretty thin at first blush. The story is more like the book for a stage musical, minus the song and dance numbers, and in fact, a maligned film version was released in 1982 starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger, inserting a romantic comedy plot where none existed in Steinbeck's source material. The quality I loved about the novel was how a sense of both community and individuality, happiness and regret, co-existed. Characters ended up in Monterey because an ocean simply stopped them from rolling any further. While they settled together and supported each other, everybody had something they'd abandoned and wanted to atone for. Someday. After one more short round of whiskey. Steinbeck's wit and gentle way of leaving the reader wiser than when they'd picked up his book lives and breathes here. Anyone with an itch to hit the open road, sleep under the stars and live by your wits and the charity of your fellow man, particularly if you're land locked and yoked to a job, would get a lot of mileage out of this book. Highly recommended.

  • Stian
    2019-05-01 20:05

    Steinbeck's prose is so pleasant and calming. It has almost a tranquilizing effect. I feel as if I can liken it to a harmonic and well-played game of chess. Things just flow very naturally from the start, you calculate everything correctly, everything clicks and works, and before you know it, it's over -- and if it is a good game, you look back at it and think, "well, that was nice!" I get much of the same feelings reading Steinbeck, and especially in this work. The complex interrelations between people are made simple and beautiful. People existing side by side and doing what they can with the cards they're dealt. People who try to be kind, but screw up. Why? Because that's what people do sometimes. And people who are seen as evil and immoral are really not that at all. And sometimes they're cruel not because they want to, but because they are forced to. It happens.Just a very beautiful book altogether. It's simple to read, but it's deceptively simple. There is a lot said here, even though you have to read between the lines. It's a matter of pricking up your ears to listen and understand. When it comes to Steinbeck, it's well worth it, and not very difficult, to do so.

  • Γιώργος Καμπουρίδης
    2019-05-02 19:55

    <<Συμβαίνει κάτι πολύ περίεργο>>,συνέχισε ο δοκτορας. <<οι αρετές που θαυμάζουμε, η καλοσύνη, η γενναιοδωρία, η ανοιχτή καρδιά, η τιμιότητα, η κατανόηση, τα καλά αισθήματα, όλα αυτά συντείνουν στο να αποτύχει ένας άνθρωπος μέσα στην κοινωνία. Και το αντίθετο, αυτά που σιχαινομαστε, η πονηριά, η απληστία η γλισχροτητα, ο εγωισμός και η συμφεροντολογια οδηγούν ολοισια στην επιτυχία. Κι ενώ από τη μια θαυμάζουμε τις αρετές, από την άλλη αγαπάμε τα κέρδη που μας δίνουν οι κακίες >>.Αλλη μια φορά ο Σταινμπεκ με αγγίζει με το βιβλίο του.

  • Gautam
    2019-05-05 20:08

    A tale or tales of nothingness, that imparts an unintentional smile into your lips, and transports us into a sweet, soporific reflective mood. The book has made an indelible impression in my mind as he, Steinbeck, had built a mansion of beauty and intelligence out of nothing, like a magician. As Steinbeck says, "the stories crawl in themselves as you open the book".

  • Tolgonay Dinçer
    2019-05-13 18:54

    Uyumsuzların hayata tutunma çabaları

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-04-23 23:07

    My fourth time to read a John Steinbeck's book. His The Grapes of Wrath (4 stars), read many of years ago, was an unforgettable experience. It shocked me as it made me realized that Americans also had their shares of misfortunes. Prior to that, I used to think that America was all about milk and honey. Reading is really a worthwhile hobby. It does not only entertain us but, more importantly, it also informs us of the things that we thought do not have any relevance to us so we don't take any effort to know them.In my case, it made me thirst for more Steinbecks. After Grapes, I read the most popular one here in the Philippines, Of Mice and Men (4 stars). Then I sampled his non-fiction book, Travels with Charley: In Search of America (4 stars) and all I could say is that Steinbeck indeed deserves the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature and the description as "a giant of American letters."Like Grapes and Mice and even the people he met while going from one state to another in Travels, his characters in Cannery Row are also marginalized. They are the workers in the canning factories and the other people in Salinas Valley, California where Steinbeck himself lived when he was still alive. It is through these people and how they live together with other people in that seaside town where you would have a glimpse of how it was to live in America in the 1940's. It was definitely not milk and honey and it was not totally different from how most people lived here in the Philippines. However, the similarity does not stop there: it is in being poor where one can see the true purpose of life: sharing. When Doc chose to forgive Mac's group, the book speaks to us the truth that we are not our properties. There is more than life than material things. In the end, we don't bring our riches to our coffin. Our kids will make their own fortune. My most favorite part in the novel is when Mack and the boys are slowly improving their dwelling place by cleaning and putting things, however few they are. Then they thought of making money by catching frogs that they can sell to Doc for his laboratory. I tried picturing many frogs in my mind and it brought back those days in high school when we had to go to a nearby fond to catch frogs. This book is recommended to all Steinbeck's fans. I am definitely one of them.

  • Trevor Frazier
    2019-04-29 16:02

    This wasn't just a character study of a person or persons, but a in-depth look at an entire community. And it was brilliant.I haven't read John Steinbeck since high school when I read Of Mice and Men. I am sorely disappointed in myself for not reading his other novels sooner. Cannery Row is dripping in wit and wisdom; you'll be laughing one moment and then seriously pondering a certain passage the next. Lighthearted and then gritty, warm and then dark, it's a portrait of a certain kind of post wild-west life that feels as if you could step through the pages into a different era - one that was as uncertain about its future as the one we're in now.So many great characters inhabited this book. My favorite was probably Mack, the de facto leader of the boys of the Palace Flophouse - a bunch of layabouts who may actually be onto something when it comes to the secret of a happy life. Mack is full of charisma and vigor and is a genuinely kind person, but struggles with impulses that always seem to get him in trouble, good intentions or not. The sorta kinda protagonist - simply known as 'Doc' - was also intriguingly well written . I can definitely feel how Steinbeck based him off his friend Ed Ricketts - he's too tangible of a character to not have a real life doppelganger. There are so many great moments here; the hilarity of the frog catching scene and the poignant moments involving Doc and Frankie come to mind. There is not much in the way of a central plot, but there doesn't need to be; I grew to like everyone so much that I was happy just reading about their varied experiences. After reading this, The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden have jumped way up on my classics to read list. Two of my favorite quotes:“Financial bitterness could not eat too deeply into Mack and the boys, for they were not mercantile men. They did not measure their joy in goods sold, their egos in bank balances, nor their loves in what they cost.”And“What's celebrate?" Eddie asked."That's when you can't get no dame," said Mack."I thought it was a kind of a party," said Jones.A silence fell on the room.”Edit: After thinking about this book a bit, I'm moving it from a 4 to 5 star rating. It left quite a mark on me on how I view certain styles of novels and made me a huge Steinbeck fan.

  • Kevin
    2019-05-22 16:56

    Without a doubt one of the best novels I've ever read, plot is almost no existent, the enjoyment of wonderful characters, weaving through each others lives. I liked it even more then Of Mice and Men which I also loved. I'm going to read a lot more Steinbeck this year.

  • Chrissie
    2019-04-28 19:16

    One of Steinbeck’s best, but too short! Again Steinbeck draws a picture of a time and place that will remain a vivid portrait. This time it is a derelict area in Monterey, California. Probably the 1920s, although it is not said. There are T-Fords, it is on this I am guessing. Steinbeck was from Salinas, California, so he is writing about what he knows best: a cannery, the sea, its smells pungent, acrid and salt, the octopi and starfish and rattlesnakes and the rats, the sound of the surf, the feel of the air, the quiet at dawn and the heat at the end of a hot summer day. The stickiness and the lilting breeze and the people - who live in a discarded boiler, a rusted tunnel, the lucky in a deserted warehouse. There is a brothel and a Chinese grocery. This book is about these people and it is about friendship and it is about parties. Think back on all the parties you have been at. The ones of your youth. How they start and how they end. The food, the drink, the music and dancing and the whole atmosphere. Reading this book will back to you the parties of your own past. They are made palpable. This book is a tribute to parties, parties with people you love.Narrated by Trevor White.