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Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition) Paperback – Deckle Edge, February 5, 2002
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“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
About the Author
John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata! (1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.
Top customer reviews
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My book is from The Viking Press. It contains six short novels. They are mostly chronological in the order that John Steinbeck published them. The one exception is that the first short novel in the book is "Tortilla Flat". The second is "The Red Pony". These were composed, I think, in the opposite order. Mr. Jackson explains this. These are followed by "Of Mice and Men", "The Moon Is Down", "Cannery Row", and "The Pearl".
I read "The Red Pony First". There is a lot in "The Red Pony" which reminds me "Of Mice and Men". It is episodic. The first episode is "The Gift", which is about a child Jody, and his pony. It is beautiful, poignant, and ultimately painful. The second episode is "The Great Mountains". It actually is about a visitor to the same ranch that is the setting for first story. Jody and his family are in this story, along with an elderly visitor. The next episode is "The Promise" which is, more or less, a sequel to the first story. It is somewhat painful. The last episode is "The Leader of The People" which is a bittersweet story about a senior citizen member of the same family at the ranch. It is my personal favorite episode.
I completely enjoyed this novella "Of Mice And Men". It is a relatively short work. It was written in 1937, before The Grapes of Wrath. I had previously read The Grapes of Wrath. I enjoyed this book more. I have very little formal education in regard to literature. So my opinion may be very faulty. Anyway, I felt this work was a more artistic work than The Grapes of Wrath.
This work reminded me more of Ermest Hemingway. I was very impressed. As is common with many shorter works, the author leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The reader is left to speculate why certain issues develope and are resolved in certain manners. I felt all the aspects of the relationship between George and Lenny were slightly unclear. The book ended with me wishing I knew more about George. My guess is that is intentional on the part of Mr. Steinbeck.
I would like to note that I purchased this "Of Mice and Men" on Kindle and at the same time purchased the audiobook narrated by Gary Sinise. I felt Mr. Sinise was really excellent and I highly recommend the audiobook version as read by Mr. Sinise. Mr. Sinise really added to the pleasure of the reading experience with his very professional performance.
This book looks much like the picture but mine is more worn, has a little wear on the edges of the cover and the pages have that aged tea stained color and it smells old, Just the way I love em. Mine is actually from 1947.
I guess I never realized how much writing technique has changed over the years. This book make me understand the difference between then and now. It is all about a bunch of misplaced men making do with what little they have and being happy, not drowning in sorrow. Helping each other even if not totally understanding that other person. I enjoyed the book and recommend it for non-mystery readers.
The CDs are not labeled with chapters and times. I originally thought there would be 2 chapters per cd but once chapter 2 ended, chapter 3 started, so this isn't the case. I can't speak for the other CDs, and perhaps this was a space issue, but a little annoying. In addition, I use the audio in different classes who are sometimes in different parts of the book, and having a Table of Contents sheet inside the box or on each CD would be great. Instead, I have to figure out what number track I have to skip to by stopping and listening if I didn't pay attention before and write down the track or time stamp during the previous reading (this can be easily forgotten if we get sidetracked or if I have to divert my attention elsewhere, which, with over 25 kids in a class, happens all the time).
Sinise does a nice job lending voice to the different characters but some students find his narration boring (teenagers!), but that's subjective. He maintains an calm, monotone voice throughout the reading.
Overall, if you're buying this for personal use than I would definitely recommend it; however, if you're a teacher than you may have the same issues I do. Not a deal breaker, but annoying that Penguin did not include something I thought was a given.
The story is about two men named George and Lennie as they try to find a way to make a living in California as farmhands. The pair are forced to be nomads due to the instability of Lennie, whom George takes it upon himself to care for. The only thing that keeps them both going is their dream of having a farm of their own one day, one where Lennie dreams of taking care of the rabbits, but the pair find out that this tiny beacon of hope may not be enough to get them through their current job.
The introduction informs the reader that this novella was not meant to be historically accurate, but rather an expression of the feelings and lives of the men who wandered to California from the dust bowl in search of work. As an emotional expression, it works very well and leaves the reader feeling the hopelessness engulfing the lives of the men just trying to find a way to get by. It's short, sad, sobering and well worth the short time it takes to read.
Most recent customer reviews
A quick read that was hopeful, joyful and heartbreaking.