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Publisher's Summary

Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a Camelot on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey, California, and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. At the center of the tale is Danny, whose house, like Arthur’s castle, becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging—men who fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil and civil rectitude.

As Steinbeck chronicles their deeds—their multiple lovers, their wonderful brawls, their Rabelaisian wine-drinking—he spins a tale as compelling and ultimately as touched by sorrow as the famous legends of the Round Table, which inspired him.

Public Domain (P)2011 Penguin

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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A Good Book

If you could sum up Tortilla Flat in three words, what would they be?

A continuation of life in Monterey albeit at a later time - post war era - and in a different venue from Cannery Row. A study in assumptions, ethnicity, allegiance, dependency and fate .... not necessarily in that order ... with a little mystery thrown in for good measure.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked the Pirate. I had no difficulty at all imagining his collection of dogs, his style of life that wasn't terribly different from theirs, and his unassuming nature and gratitude for the little he had.

Which character – as performed by John McDonough – was your favorite?

I suspect most readers would select either Pilon or Danny but, I enjoyed the humanity reflected in Big Joe Portugee more. Simple and direct in his thought process, sometimes entirely logical and others entirely illogical in his approach to solving many of life's problems, he reminded me of a gentle giant, someone easy to like and yet, not quite.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think it might have been when Danny's second house burned to the ground and Pilon and the group decided to move in with Danny in his first house. The sheer audacity of their thought process reminded me of too many times when I've seen kindness taken complete and total advantage of.

Any additional comments?

I liked the book but not as much as Cannery Row or Sweet Thursday. It just seemed to lack a definitive story line I could look forward to following. Perhaps if I'd listened while sipping on wine .... hmmm ... yes, that would have done it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jaye
  • GREENWICH, CT, United States
  • 09-23-12

another great book by steinbeck!

Would you listen to Tortilla Flat again? Why?

yes! yes! i love the characters. reminds me very much of cannery row

What did you like best about this story?

the humor.the characters were great. i could picture these people interacting.

What about John McDonough’s performance did you like?

really wonderful! he did a great job getting into the characters.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the way everything always boiled down to a gallon of wine. but the characters were genuine and never portrayed as unpleasantly drunk.

Any additional comments?

i wish steinbeck could write more books i eat them up and i will read all of them over and over except travels with charley (and my sig. other mike loved that one).

steinbeck is our fave!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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a toast to Danny<br />

journey to Monetary 's past with a glass of wine or two and Danny's friends,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Julia
  • United States
  • 11-05-12

Different study of Steinbeck

If you could sum up Tortilla Flat in three words, what would they be?

Interesting - a negative sterio-type of Mexicans in America

What could John Steinbeck have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Nothing - really - maybe a disclamer to say this isn't really what Mexicans are like.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When the baby was dying and they didn't even realize it or really seem to care.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Glad this wasn't my first Steinbeck book

Steinbeck is my favorite author, I've been through most of his books and enjoyed them fully. Not this one so much, if this had been my first Steinbeck book, I don't think I would have tried another. As another review stated, the characters of this book reminded me of the Palace flophouse in Cannery Row but in this book it seems everything they do is for wine. Didn't like it.

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America’s greatest tragedy

By far one of my favourite stories. Simple tales told of an eclectic town in a lost paradise of Southern California. Steinbeck captures the emotions of life’s struggle through enduring friendship and comradely. Wonderfully told, will leave you with a long ache in your heart and a smile on your face.

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Wonderful Story

One of my favorite Steinbeck novels. Love the characters. Could read this over and over.

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Good!

The narrator spoke slowly, but if you are like me, you speed the recording up anyway. Overall, the audiobook was good.
The story is funny and ironic in many ways. It's interesting and it is clear as to why this was Steinbeck's first hit

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Listen if you enjoy getting to know characters

Decided I'd listen because of John McDonough and he does't disappoint. Steinbeck created quite a crew and I got to appreciate and understand them all.

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great book!

I love this author, book was great. I also suggest east of Eden. cannery row is a little more similar to this I believe. Steinbeck really depicts Californian blue collar life well and it's awesome. the performance seems a little bit patched at times but other than that it's great

0 of 1 people found this review helpful