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Cannery Row
  • ISBN: 9780241980385
  • Pages: 176
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Binding: Paperback

Cannery Row

John Steinbeck

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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.

Reviewed by Mick Herron in Slightly Foxed Issue 66.

Partying down at the Palace


The Row’s main citizens are Doc, a marine biologist and natural- born philosopher who runs Western Biological Laboratories, and Mack and the boys, who live in the Palace Flophouse and get by on charm and petty larceny, but dozens of others – cops and barflies, artists and plumbers, bouncers and beach bums – stray on and off the page. Allowing for a few lost to war and other mischances, the same characters populate both books, whose plots, if plots they have, are whisper-thin. In Cannery Row, Mack and the boys decide to do something nice for Doc: this turns out to be a party. Unfortunately the party happens when Doc’s not around, and ends with his laboratory a mess of shattered glass and broken furniture. Everyone on the Row feels bad about this, and the gloom that settles only shifts when Mack and the boys decide to do something nice for Doc. This turns out to be a party . . .

Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 66, Summer 2020

Partying down at the Palace

Sweet Thursday, published in 1954, is a sequel to Cannery Row (1945). Both are set in the Californian town of Monterey, once a bright and bustling place whose canning industry meant that the locals...

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