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
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.
I read "Of Mice and Men" in college but skipped Steibeck's other books in favor of books by Ian Fleming. Yep, James Bond was all the rage in the mid-60's. I shouldn't have changed paths. Steinbecks's ability to capture the raw essence of the human experience is pure genius and Cannery Row may be the most profound and reflective of his efforts. This book was a pure joy to listen to. So much so, that I've already begun listening a second time.
He put "character" into his oral interpretation of Steinbeck's work. Well done, Jerry!
The voice acting was pretty good. The story is often boring and still life. One action scene at the end but otherwise just describing people and what they do. Took a long time to will myself to finish it.
I like Steinbeck, so I wasn't surprised that I liked this book. I didn't find it as insightful or weighty as some of his work. What I found was a narrative which seemed to want to paint a picture of Monterey's Cannery Row from the perspective of the little people, the ones we don't notice. I don't think I really got to know any of the characters very well, but there was an overall delightful ambiance. Certainly there is a lot of male camaraderie. Being such a short work, it makes it easy to enjoy this book without the worry of asking too much of it.
Which says a lot. There are some authors who, once you've read one of their books, call out to you to read the rest because you've heard their song and have fallen hopelessly and forever in love.
I love how he describes everything, but sometimes felt there was too much detail about the characters. Some of it was unnecessary to the story. Good read; I enjoyed it. Next up for me.....Grapes of Wrath.
I loved the tough & tumble stories! The resourcefulness of the characters reminds me of some of the adventures my dad would tell of his wild youth during the depression.
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