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Cannery Row

Meet the gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists of Cannery Row in Monterey, California, during the Great Depression. They want to throw a party for their friend Doc, so Mack and the boys set about, in their own inimitable way, recruiting everyone in the neighbourhood to the cause. But along the way they can't help but get involved in a little mischief and misadventure. It wouldn't be Cannery Row if it was otherwise, now would it?

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If you require your novels always to be pacey with a strongly defined plot line and resolution, then Cannery Row may not be your first choice. However I would recommend to take a chance on this highly descriptive, thought provoking short novel. Steinbeck's narrative of a community on the edge of society, exposing poverty, casual violence and desperation, yet encompassing friendship, compassion and hope is very moving. Caroline 7/10

The residents of Cannery Row are tramps, prostitutes and odd balls. These are people scraping by on the margins of society, but their humour, dignity, sense of community, and appreciation of life is a lesson for us all. A joyful collection of vignettes and a refreshing change for modern readers used to tightly plotted whodunits. Jennifer 7.5/10

Steinbeck is my favourite author. His beautiful prose makes an ordinary object extraordinary. The ordinary people on the margins of Monterey society become pleasingly extraordinary in this lovely collection of vignettes. Set in the 1930’s this is a must-read classic. Catherine 10/10. I just can’t fault it!!

I found this novel to be somewhat dreary. I could hear the slow drawl of a narrator in my head whilst reading it which didn't help. Feeling I must be missing something, I downloaded the book on Audible and was disappointed to find it did nothing to lift the story or raise my interests further. Ruth 3/10

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