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Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row (1945)

by John Steinbeck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cannery Row (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,280140487 (4.04)1 / 638
  1. 61
    Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  2. 20
    All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (mabith)
    mabith: McCarthy's border trilogy reminded me so heavily of Steinbeck. I think if you enjoy one author you'll enjoy the other as well.
  3. 21
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Similar pastoral view of the West.
  4. 21
    Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (HollyMS)
  5. 00
    A Foreign Woman by Sergei Dovlatov (Anonymous user)
  6. 01
    The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  7. 01
    The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck (chrisharpe)
  8. 01
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (xtien)

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English (135)  Lithuanian (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (140)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
the first time I realized that it was ok for misery to have a sense of humour, a theme present in many more of his stories, perfectly interwoven ( )
  frahealee | Dec 3, 2017 |
This is my first Steinbeck novel. Brilliant. I am not sure whether to feel happy for the residents of Cannery Row, or sad to think that they might live in such a way for readers to find nobility in degradation. I tend to think this novel makes one sad to think that such stories could be noble, yet at the same time glad that despite the gloom, they can be. Steinbeck truly achieves the artist's role of making sense of a cruel world. ( )
1 vote madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
John Steinbeck's short novel focuses on the lives of the overlooked working-class people who live near Monterey, California's fish canneries. The slight plot involves Mack and his gang's efforts to show appreciation for Doc, the marine biologist who holds the community together. The real point of these slices of life is to expose the joy and sorrow, hope and despair (along with a lot of alcohol) that lurk just beneath the surface of the impoverished characters' lives. A beautiful book, well worth reading. ( )
  akblanchard | Oct 26, 2017 |
Love his portraits. Tells of life amidst hardship, so life, on a street lined with sardine canneries in Monterey, CA during the Great Depression from the interesting and illuminating perspectives of, among numerous others, a: madame, quasi-doctor, Chinese grocer, lady who tea parties with cats, gopher, and layabouts.

"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." ( )
  dandelionroots | Aug 29, 2017 |
'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.' So begins John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row and this magnificent first sentence captures the mood of the book perfectly. In what follows, the author sets out to capture the atmosphere of the book's main character - Cannery Row. The novel is not so much about plot, but rather about a feeling. It is a vivid slice of life.

The inhabitants of Cannery Row want to do something good for Doc, a marine biologist, who helps out everyone in the area. That is why Mack and the boys living in the Palace Flophouse with him plan a party for Doc to show him how well he is liked and to pay him back for everything he has done for them. In the end, however, Doc ends up paying for the party anyway as the party is finished before he is home and his house is trashed in the process. Plotwise there is not much more to expect, but you want to read this novel for the atmosphere Steinbeck creates and the characters he portrays. Living with Mack are Hazel and Eddie, the former a rather uneducated young man who helps out Doc by doing odd jobs for him time and again. Eddie is a bartender who brings home alcohol by pouring leftovers in glasses into a jug under the bar. This mixture of beer, wine, whiskey and everything else his customers do not finish serves as the main drink of the boys at the Palace Flophouse. When one of them offers the idea to have several jugs under the bar so as not to be forced to mix all sorts of alcohol in one jug, the idea is readily dismissed as the punch would lose its distinct character. The actual owner of the Palace Flophouse is Lee Chong, who is also the proprietor of the local grocery store providing everything the town needs. However, he lets Mack and the boys live there as he fears they would burn the house down otherwise. And then there is Dora Flood, the owner of the Bear Flag Restaurant which also serves as a brothel frequented by the fishermen of Cannery Row.

Cannery Row provides a range of themes. Living a happy life despite circumstances is one of those. The novel is set during the Great Depression and while there is a lot to be sad about living in Cannery Row, the inhabitants seem to be rather content with their lives. For instance, Steinbeck describes the time between day and night as 'the hour of the pearl', a the time when everything is calm and time seems to stop. This 'hour of the pearl' seems to be a feeling that is deeply ingrained in the inhabitants of Cannery Row. Take a look at Doc, who lives in a very simple house where he also does his work as a marine biologist. He lives alone and his days consist of work and helping others. In the evening he drinks a beer or two, listens to records and reads before he crawls under a blanket that is almost falling apart as it so very old and worn. And the next day is just the same. While this loneliness and monotony would make many people very sad, Doc seems content and to enjoy what he has. His reflections on life show that he is well aware of his situation but does not want to change it. Doc's understanding of the human condition is thoughtful and very true, especially today:

"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." (p. 107)

To my mind, Cannery Row is one of the great American novels. 5 stars. ( )
2 vote OscarWilde87 | Aug 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Honestly, I can't say that I loved this book, it was a good read to check off the list though. The aspect of this book that kept me most interested was identifying the similarities to the structure of society in "Brave New World" to the structure of Plato's ideal society in his Republic. A book everyone should read and judge for themselves though.

» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brugmans-Martens, L.I.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farden, JerryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frank, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shillinglaw, SusanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waechter, PhilipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014200068X, Paperback)

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love. Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values.

First published in 1945, Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is—both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. John Steinbeck draws on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, and interweaves their stories in this world where only the fittest survive—creating what is at once one of his most humorous and poignant works. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck returns to the setting of Tortilla Flat to create another evocative portrait of life as it is lived by those who unabashedly put the highest value on the intangibles—human warmth, camaraderie, and love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:43 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Vividly depicts the colorful, sometimes disreputable, inhabitants of a run-down area in Monterey, California.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185082, 0141045396, 024195245X

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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