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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
6,829128538 (4.04)1 / 616
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. 51
    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
    Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck (Hollerama)
  4. 21
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Similar pastoral view of the West.
  5. 01
    The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck (chrisharpe)
  6. 01
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (xtien)
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English (124)  Lithuanian (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
I watched the film version of On the Road the other night, and while watching it I couldn’t help but compare Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarity and their fellow beats to the inhabitants of Cannery Row, more specifically Mack and the boys from the Palace Flophouse.

That is, there aren’t that many similarities but it struck me that both books deal with the stories of characters who have an innate longing for freedom, individuality and a break away from conventional society. Both are written with a pinch of nostalgia for road trips.

So, thinking about this for a couple of days I made the following observations:

The inhabitants of Cannery are pretty nice people. They just want to mind their own business and get on with their day. They might not all subscribe to the same interpretation of morality, but they all seem to be pretty decent people – if anyone is taken advantage of this is with their knowledge and consent and generally in the genuine spirit of everyone having a right to be a chancer.
The whole point of the story of Cannery Row is for Mack and the boys to do something nice for Doc – and even when not everything goes as planned everyone still displays a sense of good will.

By contrast, Sal and Dean in On the Road lack the concern for others and instead are mostly concerned with pursuing their own pleasure seeking interests. Many of which invariably seem to result in sponging off other people – be it Sal’s aunt, their friends, wives, girlfriends, whoever.

I first read and adored On the Road in my teens , when the ideas of road trips seems pretty cool and the defying defined roles seemed something to aspire to. I would not say that picking up Steinbeck’s novels in the years since that first reading On the Road changed that perception completely. I still love road trips! However, I’d much rather hang out or collect frogs with the inhabitants of Cannery Row. And let’s face it, their parties sound much more fun than the ones Sal and Dean end up in. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I hated Tortilla Flat which is also set in Monterey and so I was a little apprehensive about Cannery Row. However, this was an enjoyable read.

I love Monterey and I'm very familiar with Cannery Row as it is today. The story here, if you can call it that, isn't particularly happy, but it's interesting and compelling. The characters are motley and colorful and as you move through their stories, they are certainly entertaining. Cannery Row was its own little community within Monterey and this is a funny, poignant glimpse into history.
( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I hated Tortilla Flat which is also set in Monterey and so I was a little apprehensive about Cannery Row. However, this was an enjoyable read.

I love Monterey and I'm very familiar with Cannery Row as it is today. The story here, if you can call it that, isn't particularly happy, but it's interesting and compelling. The characters are motley and colorful and as you move through their stories, they are certainly entertaining. Cannery Row was its own little community within Monterey and this is a funny, poignant glimpse into history.
( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
Sad, silly, funny, poignant. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Steinbeck is a great writer. He creates wonderful characters. A nice slice of a period of time. Just a series of events that happened. No big story. The book ends in a party. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:43 -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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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185082, 0141045396, 024195245X

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