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Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition) by John…
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Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition) (original 1945; edition 2002)

by John Steinbeck

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,200107654 (4.05)1 / 531
Member:wwicks
Title:Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition)
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2002), Edition: ANNIVERSARY EDITION, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:To read
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Work details

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (1945)

Recently added bymissmimsy, private library, james_hnatowich, michplunkett
Legacy LibrariesCarl Sandburg, Walker Percy
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English (104)  Lithuanian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Favorite excerpts:
- "It's 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."
- "For there are two possible reactions to social ostracism -- either a man emerges determined to be better, purer, and kindlier or he goes bad, challenges the world and does even worse things. This last is by far the commonest reaction to stigma."
- "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 ever 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."

This book didn't have one big unifying emotion, or feeling, like I felt with the other Steinbeck novels that I've read. It was a mixture of the tales of people within Cannery Row and then a lot of things that just tend to happen in everyone's mundane, normal life. It was refreshing in that aspect, and very much so in the way that it wasn't trying too hard to make this city anymore complicated than any 'normal' city.

With all those positive things being said it wasn't the best at keeping the reader glued to the pages. There were sections that were particularly gripping (the frog wrangling, the parties, the stories about the dog, etc.), but for a lot of the book I felt like I was just trying to power through to the next meaningful section.

All-in-all, parts of the book were really enjoyable, but as a whole it wasn't his best work. With it being a Steinbeck book, I think it's fair to say that if this book written by any other author it would have received a higher rating, but I have a high bar set for Steinbeck's writings because I know he was just THAT good. ( )
  michplunkett | Jul 14, 2014 |
Cannery Row is the protagonist of the story. It's denizens described in moving, nonjudgmental prose as life on Cannery Row goes on.

The linchpin is Doc, a quiet, bearded, scientist who collects specimens from the Pacific ocean for his clients. Although he is quiet, he has touched the people in such a way as to prompt them to say, "I must really do something nice for Doc."

And so the story of how the friends of Doc set about planning not one, but two surprise parties for him is the backdrop for this loving homage to the bums, the whores, the hard working men and women, the Chinese store owner and the down on their luck come together to do something nice for Doc.

Cannery Row is a lovely quick read filled with character sketches of both people and locale told with the fondness of someone who lived to tell the tale. Although the book can be romantic, Steinbeck's writing pulls it back enough for it not to be maudlin. ( )
  AuntieClio | Jul 4, 2014 |
A revealing and intimate look at individuals often overlooked by "dressed for success" nine-to-five suburbanites. Everyone has his own way of looking at life, his own hopes and dreams, regrets and failures. This was very well written, as one would expect from Steinbeck. However, I became irritated at Mack's frequent, almost constant use of "I and the boys". If I were Doc, I'd find it hard to resist correcting him, but Doc knew it would be useless. ( )
  FancyHorse | Apr 11, 2014 |
I don't have a clue why I never read this book before. This was such a CUTE book! In this book of vignettes, the reader gets to know the cast of characters that inhabit the Row, from the Doctor that works for the bio lab to the madam & the girls of a house of ill repute that all have hearts of gold, to the boys of the Palace, to the mysterious Chinaman & all of the others. Each little scenario will make you smile, & even though the book had an abrupter ending than I was counting on, it was a good ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem of a book! ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
John Steinbeck was a master. This book is perfect: lyrical, haunting, sadly hopeful, beautifully bittersweet. I haven't read a novel this good in a long time.

As a side note, I think I need to reread The Grapes of Wrath. I read it in high school and don't remember being impressed. For years afterward I associated Steinbeck with that book and consequently had all but written him off. Then I discovered a copy of East of Eden in a used bookstore and decided to give it a try. After devouring that, I moved on to Tortilla Flat and The Wayward Bus. Obviously I had been mistaken about Mr. Steinbeck. So now I'm wondering if my problem with The Grapes of Wrath had more to do with when I read it. If that's the case, then I can live with that. But if not, then I will hold my school responsible for failing to open my eyes to John Steinbeck's genius at an earlier age. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (43 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
Waechter, PhilipCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For ED RICKETTS who knows why or should
First words
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.
Quotations
It has always seemed strange to me...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.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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. Drawing on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, Steinbeck interweaves the stories of Doc, Henri, Mack and his boys, and the other characters in this world where only the fittest survive, to create a novel that is at once one of his most humorous and most poignant works.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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