Lindsay's Reviews > Cannery Row

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
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Apr 02, 15

it was amazing
bookshelves: steinbeckitude, favorites, reread-ing, fiction, adult
Read in April, 2009, read count: 2

Steinbeck is so tender and hilarious. Reading this put me in a state of euphoria all week. CR was a little more surreal (is this the word I'm looking for?) than the others I've read of his so far...the wandering from one scene to another seemed a little more hazy and dreamlike than usual (which perfectly matches everyone and everything within these pages). I desperately want to attend a party on Cannery Row. I think I may be in love with Doc.

Here are a few passages I enjoyed, but I stopped keeping track about halfway through the book because I realized I'd just be copying the whole thing:

How can the poem and the stink and the grating noise--the quality of light, the tone, the habit and the dream--be set down alive? When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book--to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves. (2-3)

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Doc sighed with relief. "Why?" he asked guardedly.
Mack became open and confidential. "I'll tell you, Doc. I and the boys got to get some dough--we simply got to. It's for a good purpose, you might say a worthy cause."
"Phyllis Mae's arm?"
Mack saw the chance, weighed it and gave it up. "Well--no," he said. "It's more important than that. You can't kill a whore. No--this is different...." (47)

----

Mrs. Lee was cutting bacon on the big butcher's block. A Lee cousin primped up slightly wilted heads of lettuce the way a girl primps a loose finger wave. A cat lay asleep on a big pile of oranges. (49)

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Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and esthetic [sic:] effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. (61)

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Blaisedell, the poet, had said to him, "You love beer so much. I'll bet some day you'll go in and order a beer milk shake." It was a simple piece of foolery but it had bothered Doc ever since. He wondered what a beer milk shake would taste like. The idea gagged him but he couldn't let it alone. It cropped up every time he had a glass of beer. Would it curdle the milk? Would you add sugar? It was like a shrimp ice cream. Once the thing got into your head you couldn't forget it...If a man ordered a beer milk shake, he thought, he'd better do it in a town where he wasn't known. But then, a man with a beard, ordering a beer milk shake in a town where he wasn't known--they might call the police. (94-5)

**********************

It just feels so good to re-read this. Sweetest book alive.
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Quotes Lindsay Liked

John Steinbeck
“Blaisedell, the poet, had said to him, 'You love beer so much. I'll bet some day you'll go in and order a beer milk shake.' It was a simple piece of foolery but it had bothered Doc ever since. He wondered what a beer milk shake would taste like. The idea gagged him but he couldn't let it alone. It cropped up every time he had a glass of beer. Would it curdle the milk? Would you add sugar? It was like a shrimp ice cream. Once the thing got into your head you couldn't forget it...If a man ordered a beer milk shake, he thought, he'd better do it in a town where he wasn't known. But then, a man with a beard, ordering a beer milk shake in a town where he wasn't known--they might call the police.”
John Steinbeck, Cannery Row


Reading Progress

05/22/2013 marked as: currently-reading
05/25/2013 marked as: read

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