John Steinbeck’s paean to the Monterey County of his youth, Cannery Row contains an introduction by Susan Shillinglaw in Penguin Modern Classics.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 runs the Bear Flag Restaurant with clockwork efficiency and a generous heart, and Doc, secreted away in his home at Western Biological Laboratories, is the fount of all wisdom. Packed with invention and ramshackle joie de vivre, Cannery Row is Steinbeck’s high-spirited tribute to his native California. If you enjoyed Cannery Row you might like Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.‘A very human writer; uninhibited, bawdy, and compassionate, inquisitive and deeply intelligent’ Daily Telegraph
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