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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
6,291111633 (4.05)1 / 545
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)

Recently added byprivate library, LukaBabu, barbaraaa, 2012, mcolman, kristennicoson, carofi, RWAMAGANA, dtscheme
Legacy LibrariesCarl Sandburg, Walker Percy
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Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
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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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Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185082, 0141045396, 024195245X

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