3 Mar
The Viking Press 1945 In full compliance with All War Production Board Conservation Orders Hardcover 208 pages - fiction Working class romantic comedy (realism)

The Viking Press 1945
In full compliance with All War Production Board Conservation Orders
Hardcover 208 pages – fiction
Working class romantic comedy (realism)

“Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of Cannery Row discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine. Lee Chong stocks his grocery with almost anything a man could want, and Doc, a young marine biologist, who ministers to sick puppies and unhappy souls unexpectedly finds true love.” Amazon

This novel is a series of (accidental) vignettes interconnected by place, manner and circumstance. But mostly, it’s about the handful of people who know something the rest of us only aspire to know. The ones who have chosen to live just slightly off-balance. On the edge of just teetering. But not quite. Some of them inhabit the Palace Flophouse and Grill. Mack and his friends. Gentlemen and philosophers, all of whom share a common dislike of a steady job; a few of the women live in Dora’s house. Dora, the orange haired madam; there is Doc, with whom the story revolves. Doc is a marine biologist who runs the marine laboratory on Cannery Row. Doc collects frogs, rattlesnakes, octopi and the such for experimental purposes. He lives in the lab. Alone with his specimens. He prefers it that way. So, when Mack and his buddies concoct a scheme to ’grab’ five hundred midnight frogs for an exchange of currency in order to throw a party for their unsuspecting acquaintance and neighbor, Doc is not pleased. Steinbeck based this novel on his friend, Edward (Doc) Ricketts, an accomplished marine biologist who, in the 1930s did indeed work and live on Cannery Row, savoring every sardine scented moment of it.

Full of rich descriptive details and characters, all of whom are not ambitious to be anything other than who they are. A warm camaraderie of emotions as you find yourself laughing out loud.

“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 – first sentence


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