Saturday, September 5, 2020


 John Steinbeck. CANNERY ROW. Bantam, 1945. 

Beautiful, lyrical, down-and-outers in Monterey. I can see the outline of Cat and the cat house. Lee Chong, and the boys in the Palace Flophouse. 

This book documents the life of homeless people in California probably during the Depression. Some live inside abandoned sewer pipes. Some squat in an empty building. Some accept employment if it is available while others seem to scavenge for just enough work to keep them in the necessities. The stronger characters, like Doc who runs a live specimen supply service, and Lee who runs a store, help others out without seeming to enable dependence. 

Each time I read or re-read Steinbeck, I am impressed by how much I enjoy his keen-eyed lyrical prose. 

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