Another great novel from Steinbeck who I have always considered one of my favorite authors. Not sure why I had never read this one before - I know I read its sequel "Sweet Thursday" several years ago and enjoyed it very much. Cannery Row is written in the style of "Grapes of Wrath" where he tells the story interspersed (every other chapter) with little vignettes that relate to the story. It is one of Steinbeck's more humorous novels telling the story of the residents of the Row including Mack and his group of vagrants, Doc - the marine biologist, Lee Chong - the Chinese grocer, and the local prostitutes. In Cannery Row, if things can go wrong, they will. This is especially noted in the first planned party put on by Mack and his gang for Doc - one of the hilarious highlights of the novel. Being Steinbeck, the novel also shows some of the tragedy of life including what happens to the young Frankie. All in all, I would recommend this one along with any other Steinbeck novel!
Cannery Row is a place i love to visit up in Monterey- this book captures the essence of Cannery Row well. Steinbeck is an amazing author, and he can bring a place to life from the pages of his books, however i must say that this was not my favorite book. I found some of the things he wrote about to be boring, while he would mention other things that would have been very interesting to learn more about, yet he just glossed over them. I kept waiting for the story to pick up and go somewhere,yet to me, it never went anywhere, just meandered then ended.
This book is a pleasurable, enjoyable read. The characters are wonderful, the story line is funny and sentimental. It's easy to read, and Steinbeck paints this little world that you feel like being in. There's a reason they teach this in your American Lit class; it's just great writing. This has to be his best book. This is one to fall in love with.
Knowing that I loved East of Eden, I expected something like that from this book. They are NOT similar at all.
I had a hard time getting into this book ... I couldn't quite figure out what the author was trying to do. However, once I figured it out, I loved this short little book!
Cannery Row is about the people living in on the row (it's in Monterey, California, in case you didn't know). It's about their lives, what they do from day to day, how they interact. The story is set in the 1930s when money is tight but Prohibition is over.
In brief, somewhat unconnected chapters, Steinbeck introduces you to the men and women of the town. What I realized about halfway through the book is that he's actually giving you the events of a week or so in chronological order. He updates you on one group of people, then in the next chapter fills you in on what another group is doing across town. Sometimes those stories relate to each other, sometimes not. Once I "got it" the book completely made sense to me and I really enjoyed it.
I do have to mention Steinbeck's amazing writing. His descriptions are vivid and unique. For those of you familiar with the coast of California (I've been there a few times) you'll immediately recognize the towns and physical features he includes. But even if you've never seen a tide pool, for example, you'll be able to see it clearly in your imagination. I wanted to include the entire tide pool description here but it's too long. Instead, I'll give you this snippet:
The creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. ... suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat.
You really have to read that entire section - it's is so ... vivid is the only word I can come up with.
In other parts of the book the author uses interesting word choices as well. At one point some men are smelling the stew they've been cooking for hours and the smell is "heartbreaking" ... I can feel that. Several of the men say "idear" rather than "idea" ... my uncles all use that word too.
At just over 100 pages, this is an easy and entertaining read with excellent use of language.
(Read more of my reviews on my blog: www.age30books.blogspot.com)
It was ok, not the great American novel though.
marvelous, lyrical writing...engaging characters dance through a crazy whirl of a story. you'll remember these folks forever.
Fast read for Steinbeck fans.
"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream..."
Pretty much everybody has heard of "Cannery Row" and yet most haven't read it, going for Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" or "Of Mice and Men" instead. While those books are traveling stories, this one is firmly rooted in one spot: amongst the low-rent denizens of 30's or 40's Monterrey. There's drunks, do-gooders, prostitutes, day laborers, Chinese grocery owners, and all of their lives are intertwined. This book is a good snapshot of an interesting period in a unique place and time.
The book is practically new.
A classic book by author John Steinbeck. This book was written in 1945. Steinbeck is best known for "The Grapes of Wrath".
Have loved this book since childhood!