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Cannery Row

(Cannery Row #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  111,886 ratings  ·  5,374 reviews
Cannery Row is a book without much of a plot. Rather, it is an attempt to capture the feeling and people of a place, the cannery district of Monterey, California, which is populated by a mix of those down on their luck and those who choose for other reasons not to live "up the hill" in the more respectable area of town. The flow of the main plot is frequently interrupted b ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published January 1945)
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John Monaghan The gopher is a metaphorical representation for us, people. We make plans for our lives, just as the gopher did when he started to lay out his dens, d…moreThe gopher is a metaphorical representation for us, people. We make plans for our lives, just as the gopher did when he started to lay out his dens, dreams in mind for what he saw as his future; just waiting for a mate to move in.
Just as Mack and the boys at the FlopHouse moved in, arranged it to their tastes, they wait for whatever life drops into their midst. the same can be said for the other residents of the neighborhood (Mr. and Mrs. Mallory living in their boilers; Doc Ricketts in his "lab" and others). They seem to settle in and live from day to day without expending any effort on upgrading their lives.

Eventually the gopher moves on to a better address. The Cannery Row occupants seem content to leave things alone.(less)
A.S. I think so, considering the emotion with which he reads the poetry aloud at the party.

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Jason
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, reviewed, for-kindle
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
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
“Doc would listen to any kind of nonsense and turn it into wisdom. His mind had no horizon and his sympathy had no warp. He could talk to children, telling them very profound things so that they understood. He lived in a world of wonders, of excitement. He was concupiscent as a rabbit and gentle as hell. Everyone who knew him was indebted to him. And everyone who thought of him thought next, 'I really must do something nice for Doc.’”

 photo Cannery20Row_zpsuqwq6fdw.jpg
Cannery Row

Doc is one of those fictional characters that
...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cannery Row is of frogs and men…
The frog pool was square—fifty feet wide and seventy feet long and four feet deep. Lush soft grass grew about its edge and a little ditch brought the water from the river to it and from it little ditches went out to the orchards. There were frogs there all right, thousands of them. Their voices beat the night, they boomed and barked and croaked and rattled. They sang to the stars, to the waning moon, to the waving grasses. They bellowed love songs and challenges.

O
...more
Brina
One of my favorite childhood memories was my family vacation to California the year I turned nine. On that trip one of our stops was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As a lover of all things marine biology I was captivated by the flora and fauna of the aquarium for an entire day. Before there was an aquarium near Monterey's beach front, the city was home to a few block stretch of fish and fruit canneries so eloquently portrayed in Steinbeck's Cannery Row, the author's homage to depression era Monterey ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1), John Steinbeck

Cannery Row is a novel by American author John Steinbeck, published in 1945. It is set during the Great Depression in Monterey, California, on a street lined with sardine canneries that is known as Cannery Row. The story revolves around the people living there: Lee Chong, the local grocer; Doc, a marine biologist; and Mack, the leader of a group of derelicts.

Cannery Row has a simple premise: Mack and his friends are trying to do something nice for the
...more
Dolors
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Lisa
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When it rains, and rains, and rains, I drink my morning coffee and think of sunny California. Of Steinbeck, of course! Not that the world is more perfect in his imagination than in my reality. Far from it. But it is dusty and dry, and that seems like a welcome change sometimes. His characters would of course drink their coffee, stare at the dust and hope for rain and mud. Such is the world!

As there are countless wonderful real reviews of this classic already, but I feel I have to add my enthusia
...more
karen
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
Ben
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
...more
Dem
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Cannery Row is my 5th novel by John Steinbeck and while I enjoyed the read it isn't a standout novel for me like East of Eden or Of Mice and Men and I think this is down to the way in which the book is written as it lacks a plot and reads more like a character study as we get a snapshot of the characters daily lives on Cannery Row.

I really liked the setting of the novel. Published in 1945 it is set during the Great Depression in Monterey California on a street lined with Sardine Canneries known
...more
Jean-Luke
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem (probably more of a song, as someone walks around playing their music out loud), an aroma (popcorn, I believe), a honking noise, a camera flash as the same photograph is taken for the millionth time. You know, the photographer standing in the middle of the street, CANNERY ROW COMPANY, and farther down MONTEREY CANNING CO. Cannery Row is a tourist trap, where there's always a ton of people, and not a parking spot to be found, the same keychains and ...more
Kim
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
...more
Lawyer
John Steinbeck's Nostalgia: Cannery Row

It won no Pulitzer Prize. It does not figure into the reason John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature. Yet, I love this book. Cannery Row evokes a place that no longer exists, covering a period roughly that of the Great Depression in Monterey, California.

Steinbeck drew on his friendship with Ed Ricketts, a marine biologist , as his central character "Doc" for his novel. They had been friends since the early 1930s. Ricketts taught Steinbeck marine b
...more
PorshaJo
Rating 3.75

Yes, I'm going to work my way through Steinbeck's books. Honestly, I grabbed this one as it was his only audio available from my library (guess everyone is reading Steinbeck these days) but one I had an interest in checking out.

Described as "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." Interesting, a place in California in the Great Depression where there are some fish canneries and a cast of cha
...more
Libby
A novel without much of a plot but highly invested in its characters, ‘Cannery Row’ centers on Mack and his group of friends, as well as Lee Chong, the local grocer, Dora Flood, local madam, Doc, owner of Western Biological Laboratory, and other varied community members. Mack and his friends are the type that many might judge as shiftless and ‘no count,’ but Steinbeck observes that for them happiness has come gently and without much need for productive endeavor. While other men struggle unnecess ...more
Jason Koivu
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, classics
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
...more
Maciek
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
"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 g
...more
PattyMacDotComma
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5★
“It is a time of great peace, a deserted time, a little era of rest. Cats drip over the fences and slither like syrup over the ground to look for fish heads. Silent early morning dogs parade majestically picking and choosing judiciously whereon to pee.”


Cannery Row, where the smelly, noisy business of canning fish takes place and where people settle in ramshackle, makeshift structures to live their lives amongst their fellows. The men and women, Mack and the boys, Dora and the girls, Doc, Lee C
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I'm just really enjoying going back and reading the Steinbeck I missed, now that I realize what a beautiful writer he is. I ended up reading this because I read Monterey Bay from the Tournament of Books longlist, where the author took Steinbeck's research, characters, place and time and wrote her own novel. It made me want to read the original, which I wasn't even sure was a novel at first. One of the characters is based on Ed Ricketts, who Steinbeck writes about taking a journey with in The Log ...more
Maxwell
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, classics
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!
Britany
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, classics
3.5 Stars

Cannery Row is a small patch of a town with a slew of well drawn characters, a general store and a whorehouse. Steinbeck deftly created a village, with a true sense of camaraderie. What started out as sort of interconnected short stories, turned into different snippets of the characters lives. Some were worth investing more into than others. How can you not find a soft spot for Doc? Who continues to take care of everyone and leave them feeling light and wanting to be better human beings
...more
David Schaafsma
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
“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.”

Since I just re-read Steinbeck’s passionately angry novel of the Dust Bowl, I thought I would follow it up with a novel also about poor people, Cannery Row, but with a more wistful nostalgic, sentimental tone. It’s a kind of love letter to his old friend and collaborator, Marine biologist Doc, but also to the underclass and working class men and women of an area
...more
Tom Quinn
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Q: How many frogs does it take to throw one hell of a birthday party?

Although it's artful and well-constructed, I never really grew comfortable with this book. Steinbeck seems to be straining, trying very hard, and the result is unlovely. There is a tipping point, though, and once I pushed past the clumsy opening, the casual racism, and the moralizing disguised as Biology lesson, that's when things got interesting. (Lit Crit Hot Take: calling this book "plotless" goes too far; the episodic struc
...more
brian
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
·Karen·
This:

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 Wes
...more
Betsy Robinson
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a wondrous and magnificent thing that a necessarily great writer (because not all writers do this) can sit alone in his room emitting explosions of love for his characters and, being free and technically astute, he can channel this ineffable love into the energy of his words so that a reader, half a century after his death, can feel it viscerally as if she were in the room with him at the time of the explosion.
Brandice
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cannery Row was a pleasant little book based in Monterey, California, one of my favorite spots in the United States. The book has a single loose plot, focused on a group of central characters residing there, but several chapters divert to unrelated stories or tangents. This is something that typically irritates me and would impact my rating of a book but so well done by Steinbeck here in Cannery Row. The general plot focuses on the group of characters, who are all, in one way or another, trying ...more
Joe Valdez
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Chloe
Jul 30, 2008 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
...more
Teresa
May 07, 2012 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 a friend's review, which is, sadly, no longer on this site). 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 on
...more
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Book Club: Cannery Row 1 2 Oct 13, 2020 08:14AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Need page count for kindle edition 2 8 Aug 22, 2020 06:55PM  
Books women born in the '40s are reading 1 3 May 29, 2020 07:24PM  
Doc in love? 8 112 Mar 03, 2020 01:50PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1) by John Steinbeck - Starting December 9th 2019 10 10 Dec 19, 2019 09:34PM  
Readalongs with K...: Cannery Row FINISHED Discussion questions/thoughts 38 30 Oct 29, 2019 10:28AM  

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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

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Have more reading time these days, but don't know where to begin? We're here to help! We've asked some of your favorite authors to...
469 likes · 182 comments
“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.” 1099 likes
“It’s all fine to say, “Time will heal everything, this too shall pass away. People will forget”—and things like that when you are not involved, but when you are there is no passage of time, people do not forget and you are in the middle of something that does not change.” 184 likes
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