Cannery Row

Steinbeck, John

  12 Reviews

Cannery Row is in many senses a forgotten Steinbeck novel due to its less than ambitious credentials; it is, however, one of his finest. The novel is based in the eponymous Cannery Row, and the story is essentially a light-hearted comedy about a community of social drop-outs who, through their cunning and scant regard for the law, live a simple and contented life. [Small font]

Comments from Groups

Loved it - beautiful descriptions - a few new Steinbeck fans. Nelson 021

We all enjoyed reading this book, it is one we would not read if not for Book Discussion Group. The language was amazing and the characters believable and interesting. Some members have been to Cannery Row. Waiau 002

An excellent book, enjoyed by us all. Very well written and quite different from anything we'd read before. Extremely well-portrayed interesting set of characters. Pahiatua 001

There was a variety of opinion about this book. Several people really enjoyed it, others found it interesting but not that enjoyable and a couple didn't even finish it. Everyone agreed that the descriptions of the characters and events that occurred were delivered in a clever, and at times very humorous way. There were also parts of the book that were unexpectedly 'dark' and quite bizarre. Several of the group are keen to read another John Steinbeck novel. Tauranga 034

Universally enjoyed though generally seen to be 'light' for Steinbeck. Led to energetic discussion of 'benefits' and the welfare state. Kaitaia 002



A great discussion. A small book but packed with humour, adventure, disaster and life. A classic.
We loved it, we loved it, we loved it. Everything from the wonderful characters to John Steinbeck's economical and descriptive style of writing. Light and well-written. We would definitely recommend it.
AUCK 172
Everyone loved this book! Wonderful writing and characters well-drawn. We've decided to try and read a "classic" every year!
TAKA 001
We all enjoyed the book, very clever writing with great descriptions. Found the small print a bit of a problem for some.
Excellent in all ways.
AUCK 009
A varied reaction to this book. Some thought it was beautifully written, with wonderful depictions of the characters. Others agreed, yes, it was beautifully written, but found it profoundly depressing and couldn't wait to finish it! Very polarising.
CHCH 239
Great writing from a master - loved the humour and philosophy. Enjoyed by all in the group.
An excellent read! We all loved the book and really enjoyed the anecdotes. We felt that the Palace flophouse could have been in N.Z. It was interesting to compare how they cared for sick people during the measles epidemic to how the community cared for their neighbours during the Covid lockdown here.
AUCK 438
Most of the group found it captivating in its humour and sympathy.
CHCH 494
Most of us loved this book. The poetic language, the wit, the characterisation, the affection and empathy of the writer for the characters. So many delightful anecdotes - Frankie; the puppy training herself; the two boys.
We who managed to read the small print loved 'Cannery Row'.
We found this book to be an eloquently written 'slice of life' capturing the times and people living on the edge of society in a small American town during the 1930s. The lives of the characters in the story mirroring that of the sea creatures that Doc relied on for his livelihood. Creatures came out on the ebbing tide, the characters come out as the sun went down etc. The book was atmospheric, enjoyable and so well written that you felt you were part of the action and could smell the canneries fishy smells. The characters were very believable. Well worth 10 out 10.