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Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
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Tortilla Flat (original 1935; edition 1977)

by John Steinbeck

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Title:Tortilla Flat
Authors:John Steinbeck
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Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (1935)

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English (42)  French (3)  Norwegian (2)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
This is Steinbeck's best book. Not his best writing, necessarily, but from the perspective of one who lived in the Salinas Valley and worked on these farms, eking out a marginal existence (until wandering into the digital age, as did we all), I know and love these characters like few others in Steinbeck's work. Each of Steinbeck's novels has its advocates, perfectly understandable, but none has a place in my heart quite like this book. ( )
  mattus | Sep 30, 2014 |
Kind of sad ( )
  winecat | Sep 21, 2013 |
Steinbeck has created a world here that I have no direct experience of. Homeless alcoholic hobo males. When Danny inherits a house it becomes a hub for the local drifters who all share in its shelter. These guys are so much more than lonely drifters though, they have a camaraderie and sense of loyalty that is rock solid...if it is decided that someone needs wine then the money is found, loaned, stolen, obtained through the sale of stolen goods and it is provided. It is shared and it is enjoyed. The reason it is needed provides the rationalisation for the crimes committed to obtain it. And it is decided pretty much every day that wine is needed.

Sometimes, quite often, this rock solid loyalty is bent for the sake of one of the groups own personal need, but there is always a rock solid reason why this must be so. The excuses and reasoning that each character comes up with is pure comedy. But their situation, however happy they appear in it, is really quite dire. It is a sad story, presented in such a way that makes it seem so normal and so inevitable. ( )
1 vote Ireadthereforeiam | Aug 29, 2013 |
This was Steinbeck's breakthrough successful novel, published in 1935. In terrain which he later revisits in [b:Cannery Row|4799|Cannery Row|John Steinbeck|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1309212378s/4799.jpg|824028], he takes as his subject the lives of the paisanos of the title area of Monterrey, Tortilla Flat.

The comparison between Danny and his friends and their adventures and the tales of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Is made on the back cover of the book, and in one sense I can see how the story could be read that way, as a kind of comic inversion. By turns comic and tragic, and always written with a deft turn of phrase, Steinbeck's inhabitants of Tortilla Flat are more anti-hero than noble, more base and less exalted, yet somehow still retain a code of ethics and conduct, which they routinely, regretfully break.

All in all an odd book, but entertaining and interesting for the glimpses it gives of a world long since gone. ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Aug 1, 2013 |
"This is the story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house."

And with that first line, I realized why Steinbeck is one of the greatest American writers. His stories are direct, no pretenses, to the point, yet he manages to capture a snapshot of life that sucks you into the story. He did this with Grapes and East of Eden remarkably and he did it with this story as well. So that even though you have no clue about what sort of people lived in Monterey CA in the 30s or even care, you will after reading this. If you met these characters under normal circumstances, you would most likely be disgusted, but Steinbeck makes the reader fall in love with them. Just when you think they can't possibly sink any lower to score a jug of wine, which is their primary focus of life, one of them does something that is so sweet and you realize the depth of the human condition, that inner struggle between good and evil.

But that's almost going too deep, because if nothing else, this story is funny. Laugh-out-loud, read-passages-to-whoever-happens-to-be-in-the-room-with-you-and-is-patient-enough-to-listen funny. And again, Steinbeck has this ability in his humor to make the reader pause and take it in. It's not an in-your-face kind of humor, but more subtle and non-assuming. Sometimes you just want to read a good, old-fashioned story and Steinbeck is the master storyteller. ( )
  InDreamsAwake | Apr 5, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bovenkamp, J.G.H. van denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fensch, ThomasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDonough, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prins, ApieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vittorini, ElioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Susan Gregory of Monterey
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This is the story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house. (Preface)
When Danny came home from the army he learned that he was an heir and an owner of property.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a "Camelot" on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey, California, and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. At the center of the tale is Danny, whose house, like Arthur's castle, becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging. These "knights" are paisanos, men of mixed heritage, whose ancestors settled California hundreds of years before. Free of ties to jobs and other complications of the American way of life, they fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil in the surrounding ocean of civil rectitude.

As Steinbeck chronicles their deeds -- their multiple loves, their wonderful brawls, their Rabelaisian wine-drinking -- he spins a tale as compelling and ultimately as touched by sorrow as the famous legends of the Round Table, which inspired him.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140042407, Mass Market Paperback)

Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a "Camelot" on a shabby hillside above Monterey on the California coast and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. As Steinbeck chronicles their thoughts and emotions, temptations and lusts, he spins a tale as compelling, and ultimately as touched by sorrow, as the famous legends of the Round Table.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:56 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In the shabby district called Tortilla Flat above Monterey, California lives a group of jobless Hispanic men who, in complete disregard of social conventions and expectations, cheerfully reside in a world of idyllic poverty.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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