Here is Steinbeck’s tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society, dependent on one another for both physical and emotional survival.
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.
Public Domain ©1945 John Steinbeck (P)2011 Penguin
Say something about yourself!
Cannery Row is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read and reread it more times than I can recall. I bought this audiobook out of curiosity, I wanted to hear the words for a change. Jerry Farden's narrative perfectly captures not only Steinbeck's love of his Cannery Row characters and sense of community, but his lyrical language as well.
Which is the reason I recommend reading Cannery Row before listening to it. No narrator can show you the odd punctuation and mystifying strings of words Steinbeck so lovingly assembled in this book, which I think of as his 'ode to the English language'. It quite simply deserves a leisurely reading.
Once read, I do recommend listening to Mr. Farden's joyful interpretation of this wonderful story.
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.
I never read CANNERY ROW in school and was well into my 30s the first time I read it. The book is almost a poem. The way the humanity of the characters--none of having very much in the way of material possessions--is gently revealed through the subtle building of the plot is a joy to read. They are very rich. It is Steinbeck at his best. I waited a long time for Audible to have Steinbeck available and I'm so glad I can re-live this book in this form.
The performance by Narrator Jerry Farden is adequate. He gives voice to the inhabitants of Cannery Row in a way that adds depth to this audio version. The only negative being the book is to short.
I can't wait to download the rest of the Steinbeck collection.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Not at all what I expected from the book. It was deep, poignant, symbolic and fun at the same time. Somehow I had missed reading this classic and bought it only to fill in my missing knowlege void. I'd buy it again in a heatbeat for the joy of it and will read again soon. Heck, I'd pay 35 frogs for it... maybe even 75.
The book is great, and I thought the narration was really good too. The narrator sounds like someone who could've been there watching the whole thing from an upstairs window in one of the shops. Fantastic.
54 yrs, ,memb 12yrs,library -75%nonfic 10% fiction,15% classics. History, all sciences, bio, classics,diverse other interests.
I've been looking for a place exactly like cannery row in all its simplistic beauty complete with all its character and characters since I was born.. so you can imagine my joy in finding all those elements in this book and its sequel sweet thursday.
a community of that time that's reasonably Simple,honest and, caring,excepting ,thoughtful and,un-poisoned by money, bureaucracy,greed,status and voracious land,development,
I love how that old boiler was fixed up twice as a place to live lol- and how the palace flophouse and the whorehouse where also excepted parts of the community.Its a time and place where People were judged by who they were rather than what they did for a living or how they dressed.
Needles to say the above is but 1 element of this story. Steinbeck knows how to write of this sphere because he lived it . I wish he had written more in this series,It seems to me it was his intention, because theres quite a gap in years.. There should have been a book between cannery row and sweet thursday, Wish there was!! maybe Ill write it lol .I wish I had that ability
.late last night I finished his last book-winter of our discontent-it put me into an immediate depression the instant I finished it. the shallow will think oh I wont read that, and the wise will know that a work that can move you so much is defiantly worth reading.
Ive been compelled to read all of steinbecks major works in a row, since my first steinbeck book, the stunning EAST OF EDEN.
When an author brings so much pain,pleasure and emotionally cutting fodder to the deepest part of you- for you to sort out and digest-and it also manages to bypasses your defenses to your soul, thats an artist still lives and is immortal.
Yes, I like this meandering story and think others will. I don't think it is as good as Of Mice and Men, though.
Well, Mice and Men comes to mind because of the author. But this is much different - it is more about the characters in a town.
No, but he does a superb job here.
Cannery Row, a collection of characters
Worth reading. I enjoyed. It just kind of ends without a clearcut ending. Reads almost like a few short stories put together.
The colorful characters and the fun story that made me smile through the whole book.
All are good.
I read this book in high school and loved it then, the audio book brought me back to that time.
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
The first time I read Cannery Row was in junior college in the early 60's. I have always loved the characters and the flow of the story. Having lived in Monterey, California, for some time, I always felt a part of the story. Hearing it performed was very different than the voices that I conjured up when I read it to myself. Not worse, not better - just very different. For that reason alone I would recommend it very highly to anyone who likes the story. Perhaps it is like drinking good beer from an ice cold mug rather than the bottle.
Scientist, artisan, anachronism
"Cannery row in Montaray, in California, is: a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery row is: the gathered and scattered ,tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honkey tonks, restaurants and whore houses and little crowded groceries, laboratories and flop houses. 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 peep-hole, he might have said: saints and angels and martyrs and holy men, and he would have meant the same thing." (from the preface, by Steinbeck)
Steinbeck knows hardship. He knows what is forged in the heart in the flames of tribulation. He knows goodness, knows badness. He captures situations, environments, events and the emotional effects of the combination of these that is life. Steinbeck has a specific style and it is consistent in each of his novels. It is obvious when it is a Steinbeck. This story, as always, is great.
(my other Steinbeck ratings: grapes of wrath- 5; of mice and men- 5; the pearl- 5; cannery row- 5; tortilla flat- 5)
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