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Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
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Cannery Row (original 1945; edition 1993)

by John Steinbeck

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,284113633 (4.05)1 / 549
Member:veg-chick
Title:Cannery Row
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin Books (1993), Edition: 5th, Mass Market Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:historical fiction, United States of America, friendship

Work details

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (1945)

  1. 41
    Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  2. 10
    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. 11
    Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (Hollerama)
  4. 01
    The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck (chrisharpe)
  5. 01
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (xtien)
  6. 01
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Similar pastoral view of the West.
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English (109)  Lithuanian (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
I said it in my review of Tortilla Flat a couple of days ago, and I’ll say it again here and now: Steinbeck may be as close to a poet (albeit, in prose) as any writer this country has ever produced.

In Cannery Row, the poetry and the parties continue. It’s frankly hard to say where one leaves off and the other continues. But both they do — continue, that is. As just one example (on p. 86 of the Penguin edition I’ve just read): “It is the hour of the pearl — the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.” (Steinbeck himself apparently likes this metaphor of ‘the hour of the pearl’ to describe twilight — and uses it once again elsewhere in the book. And so he should!)

Apart from the brilliant narrative line of this entire novelette, Cannery Row contains any number of short chapters — vignettes, really — that could easily stand alone as examples of what we today would call ‘Flash Fiction.’ They don’t always contribute to the narrative line, but so what? They’re quite enjoyable in and of themselves.

Far be it from me to criticize an almost flawless work. And yet, do I detect a bad — or at least a careless — day with the following (on p. 129)? “At his step on the stairs, the rattlesnakes ran out their tongues and listened with their waving forked tongues. The rats scampered madly about the cages. Doc climbed the stairs. He looked in wonder at the sagging door and at the broken window. The weariness seemed to go out of him. He stepped quickly inside. Then he went quickly from room to room, stepping around the broken glass. He bent down quickly and picked up a smashed phonograph record and looked at its title (emphasis mine).” To my way of thinking, Steinbeck could’ve been a little less quick in the composition of this paragraph!

But this is indeed a minor flaw in an otherwise perfect diamond. His was a Nobel Prize quite justly earned.

RRB
07/14/13
Brooklyn, NY
( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
I love John Steinbeck's prose! Meet a marvelous cast of characters who reside on Cannery Row and come to life at night. Exquisite! Enough said! ( )
  hemlokgang | Nov 25, 2014 |
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I loved the quirky characters, the (almost) unbelievable situations and the wonderful humor and love that Steinbeck showed for these wonderful people. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 13, 2014 |
The last time I read anything by John Steinbeck I was in high school and I really didn't enjoy it. So, it was a with a little trepidation that I opened the cover of "Cannery Row."

Apparently, in the 20 years since high school, I've evolved a bit as a reader. I thoroughly enjoyed "Cannery Row." The novel is basically a long set up for a big party in a poor section of Monterey.

This was just plain fun to read. The book was populated by flawed but interesting characters. ( )
  amerynth | Sep 28, 2014 |
Unlike most people, I think that the patches of good writing do not really compensate for the sexism and the copious doses of sentimentality. ( )
  yooperprof | Sep 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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Editions: 0141185082, 0141045396, 024195245X

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