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Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  82,937 Ratings  ·  3,645 Reviews
A Depression era portrait of people living in an area near a sardine fishery in Monterey, CA known as Cannery Row.

From the opening of the novel: "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. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped
Paperback, 123 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Bantam Books (first published 1945)
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Allison I think so, considering the emotion with which he reads the poetry aloud at the party.
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Jun 23, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, reviewed, 2013
Man, I love Steinbeck. I love the simplicity of his characters and the humdrum feeling their lives evoke. I love the indigence of his settings and the candidness with which these characters accept their conditions. I love how quietly he frames his stories with comments on fatalism, while still revealing to us the potential for happiness that pushes at its surface, trying to elbow its way out. At its core, the Steinbeck novel want us to figure out how to embrace the cards life has dealt us. It kn ...more
Sep 16, 2015 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rich people in the sewers
Shelves: read-in-2015
Why does Steinbeck's narrative voice entice me so, I've been asking myself over the past few days.
In my second reading of this novella, which has become a favorite of mine, I realized that it's his unshakeable belief in mankind.
Steinbeck reinvents the concept of family and expands its boundaries with his blatant love for humanity. Nobody is homeless in Cannery Row, not even imps or prostitutes, destitute painters or big-hearted biologists, mentally impaired kids or immigrant shopkeepers. Even
I first read this many years ago. Riddled with ADD, frozen by nervousness, and thrown-off by wack-ass hormones, I had trouble reading anything at the time, and this was no exception. A parable of my formerly wasted time on earth, I read it and got nothing out of it. Hell, I didn’t even remember I had read it until I started it (again) 10 days ago.

But oh did I appreciate it this go-round. Steinbeck got me to like the kind of people that, at first judgment, I would deem ignorant, annoying, or mayb
Feb 28, 2011 karen rated it really liked it
how do i review cannery row? like all the steinbeck i have read, except the dead pony, of which i remember very little except not being too keen on it, it is saturated with these wonderful marginalized characters who are desperate and hopeless and yearning. but they are surviving. and there is so much beauty in the squalor. it reminds me in my feeling-parts of suttree, which is one of my all time favorite books. this book is full of such well-meaning ineptitude and many very serious things couch ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I owe Mr. Steinbeck an apology. I am so shamed that I cannot even use the familiar 'John'. I have taken this beautiful story and mucked it up. I read about Lee Chong during a middle school basketball game, I learned of Dora Flood while riding the shuttle bus to work. I grew to love/hate Mack during a cheerleading competition filthy with Rihanna songs. I fell in love with Doc and Frankie and Darling while watching a traumatic brain injured patient freak out about his meds.

I am not worthy. This s
Jason Koivu
Mar 07, 2016 Jason Koivu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Steinbeck wrote one book about the Arthurian legends. However, he wrote a few books using the Arthurian legend model and Cannery Row is one of them.

Here we have a marvelously fun tale, almost a tall-tale, about the bums, prostitutes and common folk living on the California coast south of the San Francisco bay area in and about Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea during the Great Depression. Mischievous scamps get up to no good and little comes of it. All of this is inconsequential and yet intrinsic
Jul 23, 2016 Maxwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, classics, 2016
Funny and wonderfully written. Steinbeck captures the spiritedness of his characters so well. And he describes the landscape beautifully. I'm glad I finally got around to reading this one!
"It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men — kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling — are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest — sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest — are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second."

Cannery Row is a real place. What John Steinbeck describes as "a poem, a stink, a gra
May 28, 2009 brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
20 pages in i immediately noticed the sherwood anderson influence and shot off an email to my friend xxx, urging him to read it on the flight to nyc. his girlfriend of many years just left him and i figured cannery row might inspire. his response was... um... deranged? check it:

"brian - had a hell of a day. almost got shot down on San Julien this afternoon. Bullet smoke so close I could taste it. Almost got arrested breaking up a Guatemalan knife fight, too. got robbed $40, too. But I bought som

Doc was collecting marine animals in the Great Tide Pool on the tip of the Peninsula. It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam, whipped by the combers that roll in from the whistling buoy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little water world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding, breeding animals.

And as if Manifest Destiny has pushed the dreamers of America West,
Aug 01, 2008 Chloe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chloe by: Mom
This is the first Steinbeck that I've attempted to read as an adult. We had some brief flirtations during my teen years but never really hooked up. I think it was probably a wise choice. Now we've found each other as adults and can really appreciate each other's complexities and I can tell that I'll likely be making sweet love to Johnny S. for years to come.

Cannery Row is a really brief read that features some of the most concise yet descriptive writing I've ever come across. Set in a small stre
Sep 07, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Jeniffer Almonte
This book was very different from what I thought it would be. I envisioned mostly reading about the work in the canneries (it's mentioned but not a focus) and I thought it would be depressing (until I read Jeniffer's review). Instead, it's a deceptively simple story (in terms of language) that evokes a range of emotions, humor and sadness all mixed up together, but it's never depressing.

At first I was reminded of Winesburg, Ohio in that its focus is on one community and the stories are more like
This book finds me in my making. It gives a color to it which isn't bright or striking, but pale, and subtle, and earthly. It has something of the universe in it. The concomitant pattern is so satisfactory to look at that it swells my heart and waters my eyes.

Steinbeck is The Man.
May 12, 2015 Stian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, owned-books
Steinbeck's prose is so pleasant and calming. It has almost a tranquilizing effect. I feel as if I can liken it to a harmonic and well-played game of chess. Things just flow very naturally from the start, you calculate everything correctly, everything clicks and works, and before you know it, it's over -- and if it is a good game, you look back at it and think, "well, that was nice!"

I get much of the same feelings reading Steinbeck, and especially in this work. The complex interrelations betwee
Joe Valdez
Sep 18, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tramps, transients, guttersnipes
Shelves: fiction-general
East of Eden is to Cannery Row as The Godfather is to Slacker. This sketch book wrapped up as a novel was the perfect complement to John Steinbeck's multigenerational family epic and reminded me of a scrappy independent movie that takes place on a few blocks of a town off the beaten path. No one character or relationship stands out. It's the sense of place that pervades.

Set in the mid-1940s at roughly the same time the novel was published, Cannery Row defies a time stamp. I got the impression t
Γιώργος Καμπουρίδης
<<Συμβαίνει κάτι πολύ περίεργο>>,συνέχισε ο δοκτορας. <<οι αρετές που θαυμάζουμε, η καλοσύνη, η γενναιοδωρία, η ανοιχτή καρδιά, η τιμιότητα, η κατανόηση, τα καλά αισθήματα, όλα αυτά συντείνουν στο να αποτύχει ένας άνθρωπος μέσα στην κοινωνία. Και το αντίθετο, αυτά που σιχαινομαστε, η πονηριά, η απληστία η γλισχροτητα, ο εγωισμός και η συμφεροντολογια οδηγούν ολοισια στην επιτυχία. Κι ενώ από τη μια θαυμάζουμε τις αρετές, από την άλλη αγαπάμε τα κέρδη που μας δίνουν οι κακίες &g ...more
Apr 22, 2013 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Steinbeck’s best, but too short! Again Steinbeck draws a picture of a time and place that will remain a vivid portrait. This time it is a derelict area in Monterey, California. Probably the 1920s, although it is not said. There are T-Fords, it is on this I am guessing. Steinbeck was from Salinas, California, so he is writing about what he knows best: a cannery, the sea, its smells pungent, acrid and salt, the octopi and starfish and rattlesnakes and the rats, the sound of the surf, the fe ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't help but think that Steinbeck had an absolute ball writing these energetic, whimsical vignettes. There are many passages that had me in stitches and some so clever and sharp that I wanted to note them down, chapter 2 might be the most perfect chapter I've ever read and yet it is barely two pages long.

This author is magic, from the epic East of Eden to this idiosyncratic babble of characters, I can only wonder what else he can conjure.
Feb 29, 2008 Juliana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While the setting for this novel is somewhat bleak--an impoverished and ofttimes depressed coastal town in California--the characters are brought to life by everday exchanges and emotions the reader can relate to.

I knew after the first paragraph that this novel would be enjoyable because it is so well crafted. One would expect nothing less from John Steinbeck! I remember Steinbeck and Hemingway as the staples of my high school literary fare, as required by those who had seen more of the literary
Apr 24, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Annette
“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. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses.”

Cannery Row is even more than that—it’s people. It’s Lee Chong and Dora and Mack and th
Feb 25, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I finished listening to an audiobook edition of this novel this morning and since then I’ve been wondering how I’d find the words to say how much I love it. Steinbeck was not on my high school English syllabus, not on the syllabus when I was at university and for the past thirty years has been one of those writers who I knew I “should” read, without actually getting around to doing so. Finally, a trip to Monterey prompted me to acquire and listen to the audiobook. And now I think I have fallen i
Carac Allison
May 06, 2014 Carac Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck’s great literary achievements were “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden”. I love those amazing books. But “Cannery Row” has always held a special place in my heart. Each and every word is true. The connected stories are funny and sad and heart-achingly beautiful.

The characters are wonderful.

Mack is a man who has decided he doesn’t want to play any of the roles society demands of men. He doesn’t want to be a worker, a husband or a father. He has opted out of the struggle that has mad
Ioannis Anastasiadis
..ο 'Δρόμος με τις Φάμπρικες' ή καλυτέρα o 'Cannery Row' είναι ένας παραλιακός δρόμος στο Monterey μισή ώρα περίπου από το Salinas (την πόλη στην οποίο γεννήθηκε ο Steinbeck) και στον οποίο λειτουργούσαν αρκετά κονσερβοποιεία σαρδελων ..γ να είμαστε ακριβείς ο δρόμος μετονομάστηκε από 'Ocean View Avenue' σε 'Cannery Row' k ο λόγος είναι προφανής ..είναι κ ο τόπος μυθιστορηματικής συνάντησης κ σκληρής επιβίωσης στο χρονικό διάστημα της Μεγάλης Παγκόσμιας Ύφεσης, εργατών, ανέργων, ιερόδουλων, έμπο ...more
I think it's now safe to say that Steinbeck is my favorite American author of all times. In Cannery Row he captures a moment in time in the most vivid colors and imprints it on the only unperishable and eternal medium: paper.

They say that every place, be it a town or a city, however small or big, has a distinct aura. A soul of some sort. And it's the people that live there that give shape to this soul and define its quality. To me Cannery Row, California was like the reflection of a part of me.
Jul 24, 2008 Nightshade rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I did NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT like this book. It has no plot and is very random and confusing. I had to read it for my summer book report, and I found the characters' lives hard to follow because the book jumped around a lot. There are also random, insignificant events thrown in randomly.
My dad has been a truck driver since I was born and he hates it. He has spent oh-so-many hours in his truck thinking about what he would do if he won the lottery and a shade few less telling us what he's come up with. He buys a couple a week with his numbers, which include our birthdays, of course. I have always been a lottery talk scoffer, and my dad says, "It's okay--if you won, the money would be gone in five minutes to a hand full of ragamuffins."

I don't know about that, but I do know why h
This series of vignettes of characters in the poor working class section of Monterey during the Depression provides a timeless vision of human adaptability and grace. The benevolent omniscient viewpoint renders a sense of invitation to come appreciate a self-contained world largely untouched by the larger forces of capitalistic greed and technological progress.

The main characters include: Doc, who collects and sells marine organisms and lets many take advantage of his kindness, Mac who succeeds
I had no real expectations of this book when I picked it up - it was just the next one that came to hand and this was the first John Steinbeck book I ever read. My Grandfather was not a man who proffered many words of wisdom. I suspect this was because he did not like giving anything away for free. But he always said that Steinbeck was the greatest writer who ever lived and that Constable was the greatest artist. When I was a small child I always listened to these proclamations with some confusi ...more
May 24, 2009 Brad rated it liked it
Shelves: classic
I find it difficult to remember Cannery Row after over twenty years distance (I read it in high school, although it wasn't assigned. I enjoyed Of Mice and Men so much I had to keep reading), but I do envision Mack walking past the sardine factories as vividly as if I read it this morning.

The plot details, the way all the supporting characters linked up, even who Mack and the boys were doing their "thing" for (hell...I can't even remember what "thing" they were doing) are gone. I've lost my acces
D.R. Haney
Steinbeck is one of those writers I never bothered to read. I'm put off by book titles that allude to the Bible, and I was never wowed by Tom Joad's monologue at the end of the film version of The Grapes of Wrath. It was just so damned noble. "I'll be there, Ma." I seriously doubt it.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed a TV actor for a new magazine in New York. He's a nice kid, and during the interview, I asked him to name his favorite writers, and among them was Steinbeck. It was embarrassing to ad
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
More about John Steinbeck...

Other Books in the Series

Cannery Row (2 books)
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“It has always seemed strange to me...The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.” 853 likes
“Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.” 133 likes
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