Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat

by John Steinbeck

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Overview

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Adopting the structure and themes of Arthurian legend, John Steinbeck creates a "Camelot" on a shabby hillside above Monterey on the California coast and peoples it with a colorful band of knights. As he chronicles the thoughts and emotions, temptations and lusts of the "knights", Steinbeck spins a tale as compelling as the famous legends of the Round Table.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141185118
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/16/2011
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).

After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961),Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. 

Date of Birth:

February 27, 1902

Date of Death:

December 20, 1968

Place of Birth:

Salinas, California

Place of Death:

New York, New York

Education:

Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

John Steinbeck knew and understood America and Americans better than any other writer of the twentieth century. (The Dallas Morning News) A man whose work was equal to the vast social themes that drove him. (Don DeLillo)"

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Tortilla Flat 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I don't think Steinbeck wrote a bad book. Certainly his greatest achievement is 'East of Eden' but one should not forget to check out his others such as 'Tortilla Flat.' If you like great writing, such as the works of McCullers or Jackson McCrae, then you'll love this book as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The best parts of the book were those found between the lines, like when Pilon would convince himself to keep his dollar rather than give it to Danny, as he would be doing Danny a favor that way. Or when the paisanos broke into (for them) deep conversation, they used 'thee' and 'thyne' and 'goeth thou'. Steinbeck broke into this dialect himself in the final chapters. Great subtle stuff in this book. If you want deep, don't read this book. If you want to be entertained, and spend time in a different world, read this book! Great chapters about the Corporal and Sweets. Good wine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this a very enjoyable book to read, funny and easy reading: The story doesn't havelots of depth, but still has good lessons about materialism and the burdens of social status- somewhat similer to Cannery Row, a somewhat better novel by Steinbeck
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fantastic rewriting of the story of the 'Knights of the Roundtable.' Each of the characters is well-drawn and there are many 'mini-novels' in this wonderful book. One of my favorites!
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Steinbeck creates a unique novel that describes a friendship between a group of friends. This circle of friends revolves around the main character, Danny. Danny inherits two houses and he shares them both with all of his friends. His sense of friendship and kindness to his loyal comrades helps them all to escape their toil in poverty. Friendship gives everyone the support that they deserve in a time of need; in ¿Tortilla Flat¿, John Steinbeck shows how important friendship is in a small circle of friends. Tortilla Flat is full of setting from front to back. The story is set above the town of Monterey on the California coast, in the poverty stricken district of Tortilla Flat around the early 1900¿s. Danny and his friends are unemployed drunks who live to find another dollar so they can salvage a gallon of wine from the local tavern. They share with everyone, and their loyalty to each other makes every stranger become a companion. The harsh setting of homelessness and lack of money forces the characters to unite in friendship and share their possessions with one another in order to meet their psychological needs. In the book, Danny speaks of sharing his shelter with his old friend Pilon, `Pilon, I swear, what I have is thine. While I have a house, thou hast a house. Give me a drink.¿(pg. 11) Steinbeck successfully paints a beautiful picture of the whole culture, as well as the surroundings. His incredible talent is reflected on every page of this book to keep you itching for more about this heart-warming tale of friendship.
Joycepa on LibraryThing 7 days ago
Steinbeck was born in Salinas and grew up in the Salinas/Monterey area. That he loved the region and its people is abundantly clear in many works such as Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. In particular, he had great affection for the not-so-respectable; Tortilla Flat is a collection of stories about a group of paisanos¿¿a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Mexican and assorted Caucasion bloods¿, speaking ¿English with a paisano accent and Spanish with a paisano accent.¿ They live in a run-down, shabby neighborhood uphill of Monterey proper known as¿Tortilla Flat.Newly returned from service in World War I, Danny, a paisano, discovers that he has inherited great wealth in the form of two house (more like shacks) in Tortilla Flat. Settling in to one, he decides to rent out the other to one of his friends, Pilon. Who is about as broke and averse to steady work as Danny himself. Before long, in an attempt to get up the rent, more friends of Danny¿s move in with Pilon until they end up with an amicable and stable household.Using this starting point, the stories go on to describe the activities and the lives of Danny, his friends, and the other residents of Tortilla Flat. Seemingly as disorganized and the paisanos, the stories are skillfully told in language that mimics ¿English with a paisano accent¿. The effect is utterly charming and frequently hilarious. Ne¿er-do-well scoundrels they may be, but they are endearing nevertheless.The book ends with what should be a tragedy and yet somehow is not. Somehow it is totally fitting in a paisano way just as Gotterdamerung is a tragedy, but totally fitting for the people in its world.Written in 1935 in a deceptively simple style that never seems dated, Tortilla Flat deservedly brought Steinbeck to notice. It¿s an affectionate, enduring work.
DarkWater on LibraryThing 7 days ago
A simple story of simple life. A collection of adventures to secure the next bottle of wine.
JBreedlove on LibraryThing 7 days ago
The first of Steinbeck's Monterey novels and the lightest. A story of a poor group of down and outs and their uncannu resemblance to King Arthur and his Knights of the round table.
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SleepyGirl1 More than 1 year ago
When I first read the book, I thought this is the worst piece of crap I have ever read. But once we started to discuss this in the book club I realized this is how someone who lives in a crack house today would see the world. The book is about 5 men who have no intention of ever working only how to get by.
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