Very few writers can bring you to the intimate level of familiarity and comfort with the people and times as Steinbeck. I could see, smell and feel Cannery Row. I have been a fan since The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden when Steinbeck first knocked my socks off.
In Cannery Row, Mack is the leader of a rag tag group of men who really don't mean harm but seem to inadvertently cause it everywhere they go. Much time is spent scheming and planning but not in a terribly malicious way, mostly they focus on getting what they need with the least amount of work possible.
Doc runs the neighborhood lab and is a marine biologist; a stable, kind presence. To show their affection, Mack and his boys decide to throw Doc a surprise party. Good intentions and bad karma equal a disaster. There is a round two for the party- givers which has better results.
The parallel stories of Lee Chong, Dora and Hazel blend in seemlessly and add richness to the main narrative. Although a short read, I took the time to really savor the words. So much in so few pages.