Cannery Row: 06/09/08
Although I know it's not the sequel to The Long Valley, Cannery Row feels like the natural progression from Steinbeck's 1938 collection of short stories. Like so many of Steinbeck's books, both take place in and around Monterey county so there are bound to be similarities by their locals alone.
Steinbeck was best when writing short fiction. Cannery Row works as a novel but the different chapters could easily stand alone as short stories. What ties them all together are the characters and the slight progression of the narrative.
The plot is really basic: Mac and his friends who have been squatting in the local grocer's warehouse, decide to throw a party for the local marine biologist. When it goes horribly wrong, they try again with a new party to cheer the doctor up. Intertwined with this simplistic but cute story are vignettes of life along Cannery Row during the Depression.
My favorite chapter, though, was Doc's drive down to La Jolla to collect baby octopuses. I liked it for my own experience of making that drive and because I grew up near La Jolla and know the beaches well.