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The Short Novels of John Steinbeck: Tortilla…

The Short Novels of John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat/The Red Pony/Of Mice and… (edition 1953)

by John Steinbeck

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Title:The Short Novels of John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat/The Red Pony/Of Mice and Men/The Moon Is Down/Cannery Row/The Pearl
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Viking, NY. 1953, Reprint, hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, novellas, literature

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The Short Novels of John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat/The Red Pony/Of Mice and Men/The Moon Is Down/Cannery Row/The Pearl by John Steinbeck



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Picked up the collection so I could read Cannery Row while visiting Monterey. Imagining the old Cannery Row while visiting the tourist trap it has become was a little bewildering, but fun, too, with the tasteful placards and quotes from the book along the recreation trail. I got a real kick out of the story, though was sent off balance by the finish.

Started The Pearl and was captivated, but ran out of time on this book borrowed from the local library. ( )
  scott.r | Jan 9, 2015 |
I read The Pearl many years ago. Recently I read Of Mice and Men and I think I can see some theatrical/cinematic influence on the writing. I think I might want to pick up Cannery Row next at some point, thinking back to a visit we made a while back to the John Steinbeck museum in Salinas. ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
Tortilla Flat- The Red Pony- Of Mice and Men- The Moon is Down- Cannery Row- The Pear
  antiqueart | Nov 28, 2013 |
“Anything that just costs money is cheap.”
― John Steinbeck

A man does not need money to get what he needs or wants in Tortilla Flat. Everything - from jugs of wine to the amorous affections of some of the local women - can be bartered for, begged for, shared, and borrowed. But now a wonderful and terrible thing has happened. Young Danny, unfettered by such soul-sucking things like possessions, money and a roof, has come into property. His grandfather, that viejo, has died and bequeathed to Danny, his favorite grandson – his only grandson – not one, but two houses in Tortilla Flat in Monterey. What was his abuelo thinking to burden poor Danny with such responsibilities? Danny gets used to having a roof over his head and his friends, those noble – and until now – homeless - paisanos, Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria, all eventually come to share Danny’s roof. They even decide that the Pirate, with his suspected hidden treasure and his ability to garner food, is also in need of Danny’s roof and their watchful eye. The Pirate’s five dogs, his fiercely loyal canines, are welcome guests too as long as they stay in their corner. This unusual family of paisanos is happy now. Adventures are embarked upon – individually and as a group. This rag-tag group of paisanos is living the life! For what does one need for happiness in Tortilla Flat but a jug of wine drunk from fruit jar glasses, a warm fire in the stove, and the lively conversations of one’s friends at day's end? The only thing needed to elevate a pleasant evening such as this to a truly great and memorable one is a nice, lively fight (after all, what is a nice little brawl between friends?). And Danny. The paisanos need Danny. It’s a shame that Danny does not know this.

Tortilla Flat has the wonderful Steinbeck humor I love. It is full of his astute and satirical observations: “Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually, the jugs may be graduated thus: Just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. … A thumb every other song each one knows. The graduations stop here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point on anything can happen.” In my opinion, not quite as funny as Cannery Row or Sweet Thursday, but it certainly has its moments. I loved the way the simple-minded and sweet Pirate outsmarts his paisano amigos with his – well - simple- mindedness. The story of the Pirate and his homage to St. Francisco – by both him and his fiercely loyal and, as fate would have it, spiritually devout, dogs - was the highlight of the story for me and worth the price of admission. ( )
2 vote avidmom | Oct 9, 2012 |
When the enemy forces take over a small town in an unnamed country, the occupation happens so quickly that the locals are too shocked at first to react. The town is of great importance to the enemy, both for it's coal mine and it's coastal location. Colonel Lanser, the head of the invading army decides to establish his headquarters in the house of popular Mayor Orden, in hopes the inhabitants will believe the mayor is collaborating with them and decide to follow his example. But as the occupiers impose their harsh rules, first forcing the workers to continue mining coal for them, then executing a man following a mock trial, the inhabitants begin to form a resistance.

This short novel was reportedly written as a piece of propaganda during WWII to encourage members of the resistance all over Europe and give them a guide of sorts on how to organize themselves. It was illegally published in Nazi-occupied France by a French Resistance publishing house, and then translated into several other languages and widely read. Several readers have stated that Steinbeck distanced himself from his usual approach with this novel because of the obvious pro-resistance stance and the didactic approach he adopted, but I disagree with this point of view. When compared with the kind of propaganda used by the Nazis during the war, which told the audience what to think (and later influenced advertising as we know it), Steinbeck's was a very subtle approach. He created complex characters, at least on the side of the occupiers; Colonel Lanser has fought in the first war and doesn't believe in what he is doing, his subordinates think of their families and hobbies, miss their homes and wish to be liked by the locals; one nearly losing his mind because of the difficulty of their situation. Steinbeck doesn't go out of his way to make a case for the occupiers either, but then, rare is the fiction writer who has come in defence of war and tyranny. His storytelling skills are evident here, with the attention to detail which characterizes his work and makes it seem so real and honest. Had the author taken a more hard-hitting approach, this piece of fiction would not have retained literary merit seven decades later, nor would it be likely that I'd have enjoyed reading it as much as I did. Recommended. ( )
1 vote Smiler69 | May 1, 2012 |
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For something like twenty years now critical lightning has been playing around the head of John Steinbeck, and the thunder of the pundits has echoed in the literary quarterlies.
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Book description
- Intro by Joseph Henry Jackson
- Tortilla Flat
- The Red Pony
- Of Mice and Men
- The Moon is Down
- Cannery Row
- The Pearl
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143105779, Roughcut)

Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck’s most widely read and beloved novels—Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down, Cannery Row, and The Pearl. From Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, and hope in Of Mice and Men, to his tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl’s examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck created stories that were realistic, rugged, and imbued with energy and resilience.

@IAmWithSam Lennie came back into the cabin with that look on his face and I said, Lennie, did you kill another woman?

He told me he had done it again, he thought. Why do I get stuck with the dangerously disabled? Did Forrest Gump ever hurt anyone?

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:42 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Collects six short novels from one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century.

(summary from another edition)

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