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Publisher's Summary

In the din and stink that is Cannery Row a colourful blend of misfits - gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists - survive side by side in a jumble of adventure and mischief. Lee Chong, the astute owner of the well-stocked grocery store, is also the proprietor of the Palace Flophouse that Mack and his troupe of good-natured 'boys' call home. Dora, of the flaming orange hair and taste for Nile-green dresses, runs the brothel with clockwork efficiency and a generous heart. Doc, who owns the laboratory, is the fount of all wisdom. Everybody wants to do something nice for Doc: the trouble is, he always ends up paying.

Packed with invention and joie de vivre CANNERY ROW is Steinbeck's high-spirited tribute to his native California.

©1945 John Steinbeck (P)2011 Hachette Digital

What listeners say about Cannery Row

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Funny, nostalgic and beautifully written

John Steinbeck has such love for his characters. They are all flawed but their flaws are loved and treated with humour. He gives them such humanity. Loved this book, like his others such as Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat.

1 person found this helpful

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What a tale.

How does John Steinbeck make a bunch of weird characters living in near poverty so endearing and interesting? The man is a genius.

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Steinbeck - a writer of his time but also of ours.

Cannery Row is full of such heart, empathy and nuisanced characterisation, that slowly builds an evocative sense of a time and place, whilst still suggesting universal sensitivity and understanding that we should bring with us. The narrator Trevor White, is also a master at bringing these classic novels with horde of characters to life. After Catch 22, this is my second audio of his I’ve listened to and both brilliant books were made all the better by his performance.

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  • Chrissie
  • 22-04-2013

Do you remember that party?

One of Steinbeck’s best, but too short! Again Steinbeck draws a picture of a time and place that will remain a vivid portrait. This time it is a derelict area in Monterey, California. Probably the 1920s, although it is not said. There are T-Fords, it is on this I am guessing. Steinbeck was from Salinas, California, so he is writing about what he knows best: a cannery, the sea, its smells pungent, acrid and salt, the octopi and starfish and rattlesnakes and the rats, the sound of the surf, the feel of the air, the quiet at dawn and the heat at the end of a hot summer day. The stickiness and the lilting breeze and the people - who live in a discarded boiler, a rusted tunnel, the lucky in a deserted warehouse. There is a brothel and a Chinese grocery. This book is about these people and it is about friendship and it is about parties. Think back on all the parties you have been at. The ones of your youth. How they start and how they end. The food, the drink, the music and dancing and the whole atmosphere. Reading this book will back to you the parties of your own past. They are made palpable. This book is a tribute to parties, parties with people you love.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joshua Marcus
  • 24-09-2019

Low-key, enjoyable story

Not a masterpiece but it isn't trying to be one. Lovely characters. The narrator is tediously slow, but very good at 1.25 speed.

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  • Sylvia
  • 28-11-2011

Sometimes listening is better.

This book was set by our reading group. Unable to buy and read it in time I downloaded this audible version and am so glad. It really is a cracking little story, we all enjoyed it but when I briefly played part of my audible version at the meeting some members thought it too slow. Not a fast reader myself I particularly enjoyed the audible because it really brought out the poetic lyricism of the novella, enlivened the imagery and was simply such a pleasure to listen to. I'd recommend it every time.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MsRanPan
  • 29-12-2012

A small story worth reading

I decided to read some more highly regarded authors/books and Steinbeck was one of them. This is what I would call a 'small story' in that its just a little tale about a group of friends but obviously with all the things you can expect from Steinbeck, it's not Of Mice and Men or Grapes of Wrath but worth a read

5 people found this helpful

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  • Annie
  • 05-02-2011

just perfect

A Beautiful and characterful piece of writing from the man who wrote about the place he lived in and about the good that is always lurking somewhere in the hearts of men.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sam Roebuck
  • 28-06-2014

Visit Monterey, and read/listen to Cannery Row

I had the great fortune to find myself in Monterey last year, complete with Cannery Row ready to listen to on my iPhone. I listened immediately following my visit to Cannery Row itself, and was quite puzzled. Certainly there's no shortage of cashing in on the book's fame, but tastefully done. What puzzled me was that, in the book, not a lot happens. But when that not-a-lot does happen, it happens really, really well. The (very ordinary) characters that do this not-a-lot are sketched out in great detail by the masterful Steinbeck, and you like them. Steinbeck makes you yearn to be part of the story, to live in the Flophouse, to party in their company, to buy your comestibles from the store, to get up to that not-a-lot with them. I can think of no better word than 'charming'.

Two things to do before you die - visit Monterey, and read this.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-2018

A classic brilliantly performed.

I didn't want this to end. Such a wonderful depiction of life on Cannery Row. No great plot, but what characters! All brought to life by Trevor White's intelligent and entertaining performance ( as always). Really laugh out loud in parts and in others, bitter sweet and moving. My husband and I listened to it on the way to work and it almost made us look forward to going! We thoroughly enjoyed it!

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  • steve armitt
  • 22-01-2018

Steinbeck at his best

loved it in paper back audible brought it to life . gave a new dimension to a classic title tempted to listen again from chapter 1

1 person found this helpful

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  • MR S A MCLAUGHLAN
  • 27-11-2020

Steinbeck at his mediocre

Yeah. I like the idea of broad strokes to capture a wide shot of a particular location. Liked the doc character and the guys. For me it was a pale imitation of wrath and of mice and men. Pity. I did like the warmth that Steinbeck has for humanity but just not my favourite. The audio was good but nit the female characters. Aye. Well I ticked off the list of Steinbeck’s but fir me just okay.

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  • rebecca t.
  • 27-10-2020

Another Fab Steinbeck

I thought the performance was a little more subdued than I would have liked because the characters of Cannery Row were superb! Each vignette of a life joined in the whole to celebrate Doc's fake birthday was sublime. The details ... always the details xxx lovely

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-09-2020

An injection of life

A wonderful short piece that is very much in the Steinbeck style. The work has almost no plot or distinct narrative, instead it weaves in and out of Canery Row detailing the lives of its inhabitants and their adventures and relationships. The work is beautiful, moving and at many times very funny. A true snap shot on the meaning of life and happiness. Fantastic narration well paced and all characters very distinct and believable.

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  • Carter
  • 26-05-2020

I can now say that I have lived in Cannery Row.

Loved every essential word. Not one sentence wasted on padding. As the book was so wonderfully read I was there. I was really there.

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