When I was a young child, I lived in a fishing village in the late '40's, and early '50's. There were canneries in our small village, and many of the people worked either on the boats, or in the canneries.
There was quite a community - something like that of Cannery Row.
We visited Monterey some years ago, and I enjoyed knowing that Steinbeck wrote about that area.
Yes, interesting story well written
Yes, like his way of writing
His immitations of characters gives feeling of being there
Steinbeck builds characters that you fall in love with and then struggle to support as they drift into trouble; usually of their own making. The story is about respect and how people on Cannery Row have lives devoid of meaning apart from place and time. They are not people like me, yet they are every part of my life experience. Doc is the main character, a man with a solid education, job and place in the world of marine biology. Yet he is empty in places that Steinbeck is able to reveal and describe.
Mack and the Boys are everywhere and add spice to the community on Cannery Row. They want to express gratitude for Doc and make a mess of things. Steinbeck takes us through the slow motion disaster of a party and builds tension as we wait for Doc to return home to the destruction Mack and the Boys created.
The narrator does a nice job of giving voice to people who we can only try to imagine from the words on the page as they share their story of respect, loneliness and community.
If you like Steinbeck this short book will not disappoint. It isn't Grapes Of Wrath, but it is still a fine work by an author who knows how to build characters that are irresistible.
The main character, Doc, did not come alive for me with the reader.
More character development. I expected more. It concerns Cannery Row, the part of town of Monterey California where many poor people lived. The story was from many years ago. The pace was rambling and slow, Steinbeck could have picked up the pace. The character development was lacking, the characters were shallow for the most part.
not if I had a choice
I think that at the time it was written it provided insight into a strata of life which many people were not aware of.
Absolutely and I have. "Canary Row" is like a love letter to a time and place you never visited. After reading this book, I felt as if I knew the characters as fully realized people. Closing the book and reaching the end of the performance, I felt as if I were saying goodbye to dear friends. The imperfectly perfect people you would wish to have as neighbors with all the love, pain and other emotions that comprise valued relationships.
I love the part in which "The Boys" party goes awry turning tragic and humorous. Particularly, the truth of how we cope with the inevitable disappointments and pain that are part and parcel of meaningful relationships.
Maybe. Farden reads Steinbeck like it should be read. Which is not fast. He savors the words properly.
Steinbeck used his craft to plop you right in the group of characters. His descriptive a are so real you can practically smell Monterey!
Characterization springs alive and becomes almost tactile.
Listened to and from work every day until done. Thought about it until I could jump into the car again.
Haven't found a Steinbeck book I didn't like yet. This was yet another story to continue the following until they have all been read/heard. Could not have been more entertained.
“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.”
I am breathless.
In this book, Steinbeck mostly narrates the characters so we learn about them in 3rd person - very rarely do we get inside the character's minds - which to me is like being held at arms length from knowing a character. And there are a lot of characters. They are introduced throughout the entire book, animals and people alike, up until the last 10minutes of the read. There is no plot in my opinion, just a bunch of different people living their lives. I kept waiting for something that never happened. At the end of the book, I was bewildered by the reviews stating this book is 'life changing' and 'hard to put down'. It could not hold my attention and therefore it took me a while to finish. Not just that, but the narrator spoke so slowly I resorted to listening in double speed. This helped keep my attention a bit but the content was just plain dry.
I think this was one of the most provoking and in-depth novels by Steinbeck.
Cannery Row had more thought put into the underlying message within the story. Most Steinbeck books are " what you see is what you get" They are all american stories, that can be taken literally as they are.
However this book had more substance.
Mac and the boys are a humorous and simple bunch of guys. Everything they did and said was funny, and you often figure if they are honestly that daft.
All the characters seems to be this way.
And then there is Doc, he's much like the others, but for some reason his presence and character bring a new level to the story. He's the leader that brings everyone together. He's the brains of the town. Which is not hard to be!
In the end of the book, there is a passage read out loud by Doc that sums up the whole of the story. Its the purpose and message of the whole book.
This is the element to Cannery Row that sets it apart from Steinbeck's other books.
Well worth the read. Not my favourite Steinbeck. Likely because I felt it varied from what I love most about Steinbeck. But still worthy.