Is this the best short novel ever written? Yes I think so. No wonder Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962. Not as heavy as East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath, but every bit as enjoyable. Let the individual stories about the variety of misfits, drunks and whores wash over you and the parts become a delightful whole. No matter what stupid failures the characters are , I grew to sympathise and even admire the well meant antics of Mac and the boys , the decency of Doc, the shrewdness of Lee Chong and the good nature of Dora the local madam. The tale revolves round an attempt by the citizens of Cannery Row to repay Doc for his many good turns and wise council. A simple enough story, but in the hands of John Steinbeck it is a riveting, rollicking, laugh out loud Masterpiece. The descriptions of Cannery Row are so convincing that I can see the Canneries , the Flop House, the Bear Flag cat house etc. etc. There are two outstandig passages about wild life that are stand alone mini masterpieces: the frog hunt and the gopher. Simply the best book I have read in a long long time.