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Cannery Row [Kindle Edition]

John Steinbeck
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (402 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $7.01 (47%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society.

Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls, unexpectedly finds true love.

Cannery Row is just a few blocks long, but the story it harbors is suffused with warmth, understanding, and a great fund of human values.

First 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. John Steinbeck draws on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, and interweaves their stories in this world where only the fittest survive—creating what is at once one of his most humorous and poignant works. In Cannery Row, John Steinbeck returns to the setting of Tortilla Flat to create another evocative portrait of life as it is lived by those who unabashedly put the highest value on the intangibles—human warmth, camaraderie, and love.









Editorial Reviews

Review

“Steinbeck has compounded a bitter and uproariously funny commentary on the futility of human aspiration and the barrenness of existence . . . an extraordinary mixture of wild laughter and searing pain.” The New York Herald Tribune

“It’s one of the most thoroughly enjoyable and delicious books you’ll ever have the fortune to read.” Chicago Sun Times

“Everything is always somehow overlaid with laughter, the special kind of laughter and contentment with one’s lot, however humble, that only John Steinbeck can put into words. . . . John Steinbeck sees his characters with deep compassion as well as amusement.” Chicago Sunday Tribune

Review

“Steinbeck has compounded a bitter and uproariously funny commentary on the futility of human aspiration and the barrenness of existence . . . an extraordinary mixture of wild laughter and searing pain.” The New York Herald Tribune

“It’s one of the most thoroughly enjoyable and delicious books you’ll ever have the fortune to read.” Chicago Sun Times

“Everything is always somehow overlaid with laughter, the special kind of laughter and contentment with one’s lot, however humble, that only John Steinbeck can put into words. . . . John Steinbeck sees his characters with deep compassion as well as amusement.” Chicago Sunday Tribune

Product Details

  • File Size: 258 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140177388
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 1, 1993)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001BC6GUO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Booze and Love and Loneliness--a Story of Humanity November 7, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Reading CANNERY ROW on the heels of TORTILLA FLAT, the reader quickly notices many parallels between the two novels, both of which spotlight the ironies of human existence, including its happiness, despair, success and failure, and how conventional wisdom often fails dismally in describing the realities of existence. Despite the many parallels and equivalencies between them, however, the two novels differ in tone and treatment, if not in theme, and are equally worthy of the reader's attention. In fact, the reader's grasp of Steinbeck's commentary on life will remain incomplete if only one of the novels is read. By all means, learn from both.

CANNERY ROW shows us many great ironies, not the least of which is the fact that "Mack and the boys," a group of down-and-out bums, seem to be more content and fulfilled with their lot in life than is "Doc," the professional man who operates the Western Biological Laboratory. Doc is alone in the world; he lacks that human attachment that brings comfort and connectedness to those who are otherwise adrift in an uncaring universe. He has lost his only lover some time before our story begins, and his stumbling across the corpse of a beautiful, drowned girl is a painful reminder of that loss. An even more poignant reminder of his alienation from humanity comes in the words of Frankie before he is isolated in an insane asylum. Frankie's simple answer of "I love you" sends Doc retreating to the seclusion of his laboratory.

Contrasted with the loneliness of Doc, we find a fulfilling camaraderie among Mack and his cohorts.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful American Tragicomedy February 11, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Steinbeck resists the pessimistic strain that runs through much 20th-century literature of alienation and despair. His is essentially a positive, "comic" vision in that he affirms the human community, all the more so if it comprises outcasts and eccentrics who reject the conventions and materialist values of the dominant culture in favor of the more "natural" as well as mystic order represented by Doc. Mack and the boys, along with most of the other inhabitants of Cannery Row, embody a democratic, inclusive social order founded on genuine diversity--of character and lifestyle more than color, ethnicity, or religion. In fact, they have much in common with the lovable and vital mischief makers of Shakespeare's King Henry IV plays, though Steinbeck's Doc cannot bring himself to be as heartless as Shakespeare's Prince Hal. Falstaff and company are allowed to remain in Steinbeck's version. They're as essential to the vitality and strength of the human community as the debris that contributes to the cycle of life represented by the tide pools.

One striking example of Steinbeck's worldview is the automobile. Unlike Fitzgerald's symbol of American aspiration and status, of danger and tragedy, Steinbeck's machine is distinguished by the working symmetry of its parts and by its relation to resourceful, inventive human beings capable of adapting and modifying it to their own purposes--which aren't primarily selfish but directed toward the survival and celebration of the community which it serves. Gay's mechanical expertise inspires the narrator in Chapter 11 to proclaim: "Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the ..., about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. With the Model T, part of the concept of private property disappeared.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannery Row April 29, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cannery Row is Steinbeck at his best. It is a great example of Steinbeck's humorous side as well as some sad commentary on the state of mankind. Freddy's fate, the drowned girl, and the chapter in which the boy makes fun of friend's father committing suicide make it clear that Steinbeck is trying to do more than just write a feel good novel for his readers recovering from WWII. Steinbeck seems to want to make clear to the reader that the tragedy that often is the reality of life is always lurking somewhere in the background. Despite some of the gloomy chapters, Steinbeck does an excellent job of creating memorable characters who move through their lives in a laid back manner that reflects the character of Cannery Row itself. In fact, the town of Cannery Row becomes as much a character in the novel as Doc. Mr. Lee, or Mac and the boys. By having the fickle moods of Cannery Row change as portrayed by the weather and scenery Steinbeck uses the living element of the town to move the reader through the story. I highly recommend this novel.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I wish I knew how to convey to you the importance of reading this book and how I think it will change your life for the better. I could tell you it's my favorite book, but that probably wouldn't work because most people who know me think that I'm am a idiot. How about there's a whole chapter about a gopher? No? Animal hater, huh? Well there's people in it too. Normal people with all the normal flaws, the normal lost dreams and the normal well-meaning plans that don't quite pan out.

The story is about life on Cannery Row and the everyday people who live there. There's a whole cast of wonderful characters but the most respected is Doc and the people of Cannery Row decide they want to show Doc their appreciation and throw him a surprise party.

I've read a number of Steinbeck's gloomier books and I loved them all but "Cannery Row" holds a special place in my heart (even after repeat readings) because it's so bright and sunny and it makes me happy. There's plenty of sad things happen in the book - suicide by rat poison, suicide by stabbing, a heartbroken gopher, a sad boy with no future, a dead girl - but even with all that sadness there's an overall feeling of happiness, like everything is going to be alright. It's hard to explain. How about you just read the book and find out for yourself?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Never read anything like it before, the art of storytelling!
Published 19 hours ago by Ágnes Isza
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Excellent book
I would highly recommend this book to any one it is heart felt and a work of poetry
Published 2 days ago by pam walentynowicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity Captured
How can you review what one good friend called 'The Bible' (& there's Sweet Thursday too!)
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I have read several John Steinbeck novels and this has become my favorite. It is a quick read and well worth your time.
Published 22 days ago by Bec C.
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book.
I have become quite a fan of Steinbeck since I finally got around to discovering his work (embarrassingly) just last year. I enjoyed "Tortilla Flat" when I read it. Read more
Published 23 days ago by SG
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I had hoped
Not as good as I had hoped. Characters not complete enough for me and too many unfinished narratives. But perhaps that is just Steinbeck's style. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Denise M. Bosch
2.0 out of 5 stars eh...
Made very little sense. The plot had many many pieces like a Quentin Tarantino movie and the did eventually tie together in a very anticlimactic way. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Visit Cannery Row
As I read, I was pulled into the story and I felt like I was a bystander living in another town in a bygone era. This is an easy and enjoyable read that's clearly written. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ginger Vann
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel the California sun on your face when you read Cannery Row..
Not enough can be said for the great works of art by John Steinbeck. He has a way of painting a picture with words that transports you to that place and time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan G.
5.0 out of 5 stars good
a classic. good service
Published 1 month ago by Angela Young
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More About the Author

John Steinbeck (1902-1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

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how many chapters are in Canary Row?
It is about fish cannerys and not about a bird. There are 31 chapters in Cannery Row.
Aug 25, 2006 by Paul R. St John |  See all 2 posts
Is Cannery Row published in the Spanish language? Be the first to reply
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