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Tortilla Flat
John Steinbeck
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Tortilla Flat

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  35,311 Ratings  ·  1,817 Reviews
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of Americaas greatest writers and cultural figures. We have begun publishing his many works for the first time as blackspine Penguin Classics featuring eye-catching, newly commissioned art. This season we continue with the seven spectacular and influential books "East of Eden, Cannery ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 21st 1976 by Signet Book (first published 1935)
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Amber I agree... Danny was an excellent protagonist. He was shrouded in mystery, yet I felt like I knew him all along.
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Jul 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: literature
I learned from this book that I continue to love Steinbeck. I despise the idea that he (like hemmingway for that matter) is sometimes considered a "simple" writer. Here's my opinion: Using flowery prose to add weight and impart meaning on a vaporous story is not great literature. A substantive story, containing meaning and moral, simply told IS great literature. This is what I run into every time I read Steinbeck. Hemmingway too. Simple construction - departing every so often to show off that ye ...more
Much has been said about Steinbeck's apparent portrayal of Mexican Americans as lazy, amoral drunkards in Tortilla Flat. Some say Steinbeck was racist; some say he was just a product of his time. Which is right I do not know; Steinbeck may very well have been racist (he also uses "jew" as a slur and in several of his books uses unflattering stereotypes of Chinese people). I know nothing of the man's personal beliefs about race and it is a common fallacy to suppose an author always agrees with h ...more
Jason Koivu
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tales of the tall variety about a silly gang of friends whose boy's club antics remind one at times of "The Three Stooges" or "Last of the Summer Wine" as they cast about in search of adventure and drink, spinning their own unbelievable yarns while getting drunk, and philosophizing with wild abandon - be damned the passing of the day! Hell, there's even Yogi Bear-ish picnic basket pinching scene!

Nonsense, it's all nonsense! Or is it? I seem to recall something quite profound was said somewhere
Robert J. Burdock
Briefly, Danny, the chief protagonist in this novel, returns from the war to Tortilla Flat (a paisano district that sits upon a hillside above Monterey), to find he has inherited two houses. What then follows is a comedic tale that fundamentally can be summed up in 5 words - wine, friendship, food, women and again :o)

This is the first John Steinbeck novel I've had the pleasure of reading, and quite simply it has left an indelible mark on me. What captivates me in the first instance is
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Η αλληλεπίδραση του κακού και του καλού. Ο πόνος και ο ανθρωπισμός. Δυνατά συναισθήματα από ήρωες που λυπάσαι αλλά και σέβεσαι.

Πολυ δυνατή η πένα του Steinbeck. Έργο βαθιά ανθρώπινο
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Although it was initially rejected for publication on a number of occasions, this work – a short story cycle - was Steinbeck’s first real critical and commercial success,. He wrote it during 1933 and early 1934, when he was heavily involved in caring for his elderly parents, who were both were very ill. Steinbeck was inspired to write the book by a high school teacher friend, who was partly of Mexican descent. She had been studying the paisanos, poor people of mixed Mexican, Native American and
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-novels
This novel could easily be a set of short stories, a morality tale (or immorality!), a retelling of the Arthurian legends or a retelling of the gospels with a very alternative last supper!
Danny and his friends (all paisanos) spend their time looking for food, wine, shelter and women and this is pretty much all they need in life to be content. Getting hold of wine is a thread through the book and its role is important; sharing your wine is true friendship and there are some excellent quotes
"Two g
Joe Valdez
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
John Steinbeck has become an author whose books I can open to virtually any page and settle into a world I never want to leave. Even the men I work with who find fiction "theatrical" and rarely read books break into a smile at the mention of Steinbeck. His 1935 breakthrough Tortilla Flat was likely assigned reading in high school and it stands as a remarkable introduction to the author, with twenty-seven easily digested and related stories penned with faerie tale simplicity, wit and wonder.

The w
Olaf Gütte
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eigentlich eine Tragödie, die Erzählung von Danny und seinen Freunden,
aber mit viel Ironie und Zynismus macht John Steinbeck daraus eine liebens- und lesenswerte
Geschichte von den Bewohnern eines kleinen Hauses am Rande von Monterey, deren einzige
Lebensaufgabe darin besteht, täglich etwas zu essen und ein paar Gallonen Wein zu besorgen.
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved this book. I did. Here's why: simple, straightforward, but oh-so-charming storytelling. No pretenses. What you see, is what you get. Danny. Pilon. Big Joe Portagee. Pablo Sanchez. Jesus Maria Corcoran. Pirate and his dogs. Some might argue that none of these are great characters. You might even make the (valid) point that each one is a 'failure' of sorts--since between them they're barely surviving by the world's standards. They live to drink and drink to live. But are they happy? Yes! T
Cindy Newton
This is a charming and humorous tale of the adventures of a group of erstwhile paisanos in California after World War I. I was confused when I started this because they were addressing each other as "thee" and "thou", and I did not think this was a common patois of southern California at this time in history. Then I read in the book description that Steinbeck had based the book on Camelot and used the structure and themes of Arthurian legends, and it made a little more sense.

However, as I kept
D.B. Woodling
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who appreciate classic literature

In this short novel, published in 1935, the author accomplished what he has consistently achieved, awakening emotion through lifelike characters. Written during the depression, it is no wonder Steinbeck’s destitute but optimistic characters appealed to the masses. Their appreciation of basic needs — with the occasional bottle of wine and a lusty woman thrown in — struck a chord with so many experiencing similar hardships.

Though criticized for a demeaning portrayal of Mexican-Americans, Steinbeck
Kev D'Olivo
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some things i noticed about this book:

1. Allegory for King Arthur and the knights of the Roundtable
2. Danny's good side represents Arthur, while his wild side represents Lancelot's later character.
3. For a while i thought Danny was a figure of christ becasue of his forgiving and sacrificial nature, but his later exploits dispeled this notion.
4. Torelli is definitley a symbol for Satan, the snake imagery surrounding his character is hard to miss.
5. The big party for Danny = the last supper.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This was a fun read. I can see where some might be rubbed the wrong way by Tortilla Flat due to the political incorrectness of the time when it was written but most of the shenanigans come across to me as innocent and harmless and the main characters to me seem to be colored positively, as likable knuckleheads. Oh, and one character, the Pirate, had a pack of five obedient, loyal, and lovable dogs named Enrique (houndish), Pajarito (brown and curly), Rudolph ("an American dog"), Fluff (a Pug), a ...more
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to Monterey recently (on my honeymoon, as it happens) and was utterly charmed by the place. A quirky and picturesque seaside town nestled on the coast of California, which manages to be touristy without being tacky, historic while still embracing the modern, and sleepy even when recognising the cosmopolitan. Also, it does damn good clam chowder. Having gone there and somewhat fallen in love with the place, how could I then resist the writings of its most famous son? Particularly when that ...more
Anna [Floanne]
Feb 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, _us-can, p_nobel
Molto lontano dai drammi e dalla tensione narrativa di Furore, la storia di questi simpatici paisanos di Pian della Tortilla è leggera e divertente. A tratti mi ha ricordato "Amici miei" per gli scherzi goliardici e per l'atmosfera tragicomica che investe le loro avventure. Pilon, Gesù Maria, il Pirata, Joe Portoghese il Grande, Pablo e il "ricco" Danny che li ospita nella sua casa ereditata sono un gruppo di beoni scansafatiche che ne escogitano una più del diavolo per riuscire a mettere le man ...more
one wonders if one could do away with ambition and computers and bookface and tivo and truly be happy living day to day, sleeping in a hollow log, stealing one's dinner from pumpkin patches and bean fields, trading a day's work for a jug of cheapo wine or a roll in the hay with a whore-with-a-heart-of-gold... of course, had steinbeck truly lived the life of the paisanos in his novel, he never could've written it! well, possibly written. never published. therein lies the argument for capitalism a ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tortilla Flat was Steinbeck’s 1st critical and commercial success, but it hasn’t aged well over the years. The novel is a picaresque tale of a small group of friends who live up above Monterey in an area called Tortilla Flat. The friends are rogues who don’t work and survive by panhandling, occasionally stealing, and mooching off each other. Whatever money they get is quickly spent on wine and women, especially on wine. A gallon of wine costs $1.00 and, throughout the novel, there are multiple d ...more
Published in 1935, Tortilla Flat is one of John Steinbeck's earliest novels. The story revolves around Danny who inherits two old houses in the poor hillside area of Monterey after he returns from World War I. He and five paisanos live in the houses where they tell tall tales, drink wine, and chase women. The paisanos have a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Mexican, and Caucasian ancestry. In the preface, Steinbeck compares the adventures of Danny and the paisanos to those of King Arthur and the knig ...more
Ted Mallory
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part way through Tortilla Flat, I commented to a friend that I found it odd that Steinbeck was writing about a group of homeless veterans and he never directly addresses either their war experience or the difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Now that I've finished it, (don't worry, this is not a spoiler) I think I was wrong. Maybe when it was first published in 1935 people didn't directly address such things anyway. These are WWI vets. "Shell Shocked" was a new concept and not necessarily a co ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Come Danny, gli amici di Danny e la casa di Danny mi intrattennero durante l'estate

Pian della Tortilla mi lascia spiazzata: ci sono cose che ho apprezzato, cose che non mi hanno colpita. In generale, me lo aspettavo diverso. E' la prima volta che leggo Steinbeck, e di sicuro non ho iniziato dai titoloni; ho iniziato dall'esordio, dallo scrittore ancora acerbo, se mi devo fidare delle numerose recensioni.
Questo romanzo breve è un turbinio di personaggi, uno più strambo dell'altro, che si arrabatt
La ravina e il burrone

Più vado avanti con la lettura delle opere di Steinbeck in ordine cronologico (Furore e Vicolo Cannery li avevo già letti prima di iscrivermi al gruppo ""Steinbeck da leggere o rileggere) e più mi convinco che quest'autore - Premio Nobel, non dimentichiamolo - meriterebbe maggior rispetto dalle case editrici italiane con la messa in cantiere di nuove traduzioni dall'originale.
Con questo non intendo affatto sminuire le traduzioni di Montale (Al Dio sconosciuto) e Vittorini (
Tortilla Flat is quite a number of things. On the surface, it's a short novel about a group of friends with certain proclivities towards drinking wine. A lot of wine. On another level it's supposedly a retelling of the Knights of the Round Table, but I am not even going to front like I know enough about that to appreciate that connection at its depths. On another level, suiting our economic times, it's also about rising up in social classes -- how difficult it is to do, what happens to us and ou ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This King Arthuresque novel tells the story of a group of paisanos, local countrymen of Mexican-Indian-Spanish-Caucasian descent, living in a shabby district known as Tortilla Flat above the town of Monterey on the Californian coast. The story centers on Danny, or rather, it is "the story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house. It is a story of how these three become one thing... when you speak of Danny's house you are to understand to mean a unit of which the parts are men, from w ...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tortilla Flat is a case of the meek inheriting the earth – some are meek in the head, some are meek in their moral attitudes and some have other kinds of meekness…
“Teresina was a mildly puzzled woman, as far as her mind was concerned. Her body was one of those perfect retorts for the distillation of children. The first baby, conceived when she was fourteen, had been a shock to her; such a shock, that she delivered it in the ball park at night, wrapped it in newspaper, and left it for the night w
Dave Allen
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never read any Steinbeck I didn't like!
Uno stile diverso da quello di Uomini e topi, eppure un bellissimo libro.
Assomiglia quasi ad una raccolta di storie sulla vita di Re Artù; c'è qualcosa di mitico e mistico nelle avventure di Danny e dei suoi amici Pilon, Pablo, Gesù, Joe il Portoghese e il Pirata.
Libro pieno di umanità, di ironia, anche perché essere ironici ed essere umani nel migliore dei casi si equivale. Affascinante la narrazione e affascinanti i luoghi, gli stessi di Zorro. Monterey, la California.
Meraviglioso meravigli
Guy Portman
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Danny is an unemployed alcoholic, leading a transient existence in Monterrey, California. When Danny inherits two houses in the shabby district of Tortilla Flat, he invites a hobo friend and fellow paisano (descendant of Spanish peasants) to live with him. Danny’s new lodger, Pilon, is a self-proclaimed logician, obsessed with morality. The pair are soon joined by workshy Jesus Maria, the mentally handicapped Pirate, and his pack of dogs.

We follow their escapades, which entail endless wine drink
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-possession
Ο Στάινμπεκ σε αυτή η φαινομενικά απλοϊκή πικαρέσκα νουβέλα, με θέμα τις περιπέτειες μιας παρέας γλεντζέδων και μικροαπατεώνων παεζάνων (Ισπανοϊνδιάνων που ζούσαν κοντά στο Μοντερέι της Καλιφόρνιας), δείχνει πόσο σπουδαίος συγγραφέας ήταν. Με γλώσσα χυμώδη και ρυθμό ορμητικό, κατορθώνει να δώσει κάτι πολύ παραπάνω από μια σκαμπρόζικη ηθογραφία και να μιλήσει για όλα τα μεγάλα της ζωής, τον έρωτα, τη φιλία, την ιδιοκτησία, την ελευθερία, και φυσικά τον θάνατο. Θυμίζει σε πολλά σημεία τον Ζορμπά τ ...more
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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...
“Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.” 101 likes
“Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks and the tides rise and fall as a great clepsydra.” 79 likes
More quotes…