Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat

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John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (Salinas, California, 27 de febrero de 1902-Nueva York, 20 de diciembre de 1968) fue un escritor estadounidense ganador del Premio Nobel de Literatura y autor de conocidas novelas como De ratones y hombres, Las uvas de la ira y Al este del Edén.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140868944
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 02/01/1999
Series: Audio Classics Series
Edition description: 6 Cassettes
Pages: 6
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 4.18(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 1 Year

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


Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925

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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. 65 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.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not finish this book. Read it half way through, skipped and read the end which was exactly what I expected from Steinbeck, and decided to devote my time to more enjoyable reading. Sorry if this doesn't go down well with Steinbeck fans, but I simply don't find anything about the lives of alcoholics who are destroying themselves and those around them, amusing. It seemed to me that he was trying to make it so. The only reason I stuck with it halfway through was because of his writing. Others may find this an excellent book, but I didn't like it.
AdonisGuilfoyle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'I like it,' said Pablo. 'I like it because it hasn't any meaning you can see, and still it does seem to mean something. I can't tell what.' Which sums up 'Tortilla Flat', about a group of shiftless, drunken, philosophising paisano friends in post-World War One California. Not a lot happens, until the end, but each chapter is a sort of moral story in itself. Worth a read.
rburdock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Briefly, Danny, the chief protagonist in this novel, returns from the war to Tortilla Flat (a paisano district that sits upon a hillside above Monterey), to find he has inherited two houses. What then follows is a comedic tale that fundamentally can be summed up in 5 words - wine, friendship, food, women and again :o)

This is the first John Steinbeck novel I've had the pleasure of reading, and quite simply it has left an indelible mark on me. What captivates me in the first instance is the remarkable talent Mr. Steinbeck shows in the quality of his prose. He demonstrates an incredible talent for expressing himself literarily, and in the most poetic way. I could provide endless examples but as an illustration, instead of penning something simple such as "the Pirate used his wheelbarrow to help Danny", Mr. Steinbeck eloquently scribes it as "then borrowing the Pirate's wheelbarrow and the Pirate to push it, Danny..", which, like the most of the sentences in Tortilla Flat, read like silk.

If the quality of Mr. Steinbeck's prose forms one half of the success of Tortilla Flat, then the sublime depth of his characterisation fills the other half. Mr. Steinbeck succeeds at magnificently bringing his characters to life. Every one is profoundly realised, with each possessing their own idiosyncratic yet appealing qualities. It is a difficult choice to make but the most endearing character for me is "The Pirate', the man `whose head had not grown up with the rest of his body'. Conscientious, hard-working, a man of simple pleasure (a pleasure that consists of him either showing affection for his dogs, or working towards winning the approval of his friends), the Pirate epitomizes how a humble, honest and largely pious life should be lived, which superbly juxtaposes the lifestyles of the other friends in the group (well, with the exception of Big Joe Portagee :o)) which are as far from pious as one could get.

This is not to say that Danny and his friends never show good intentions at heart. Mr. Steinbeck is masterful at setting his characters on a path of good intention, only for them to either falter, or to manipulate circumstance to meet their own needs. This happens a lot, and more often than not, wine plays a role as either the primary motive or betrayer.

I truly loved reading Tortilla Flat. It is a delightful story, with magnificent characters, and I would consider it to be a work of absolute genius. I never thought it could be possible to be completely captivated by an author on the strength of reading one book, but I can state without fear of contradiction that Mr. John Steinbeck, thanks to Tortilla Flat, has found a rare place in my heart. I look forward to discovering the rest of his collection.
msf59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿This is the story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house.¿ This is our introduction to the ¿Paisanos¿. A shaggy group of men; shiftless, hard-drinking and mostly good-natured, living aimless lives, in a small house on a dusty hill above Monterey California. They work occasionally, but mostly hunker in the shade, philosophize and devise ways to acquire the next gallon of wine.This book put Steinbeck on the map, but it is lighter and more humorous in tone, than the hard-hitting socially conscious work, he will soon turn to. It is a pleasant tale, brimming with a cast of colorful and charming characters and I recommend it."The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight.¿
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Danny, the hero of John Steinbeck¿s novella Tortilla Flat, is a paisano. When he inherits two small houses in Tortilla Flat, his friends soon discover that living beneath a roof is preferable to sleeping in the woods. Pilon, Pablo, Pirate and his pack of friendly dogs, Joe Portagee, and Jesus Maria soon move in with Danny. Together, they commit petty theft, drink far too much cheap wine, and engage in a number of sexual liaisons with the town women. They also develop strong friendships with each other ¿ friendships based on a common philosophy that material goods are not what create happiness, and freedom comes in choosing to live unencumbered by traditional social mores. The paisanos are loyal to their comrades over all else.Based loosely on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, Steinbeck¿s classic novel explores the growing friendships of the paisanos and their skewed view of morality. They often steal from their neighbors, yet unselfishly assist those in need; they are quick to come to the rescue of the local women, but do not deny themselves sexual gratification. They share stories to help teach each other the lessons of life. Steinbeck clearly loves this scrappy band of brothers and with humor and sensitivity he creates memorable and likable characters. At times, Tortilla Flat feels like a collection of short stories or parables.Steinbeck sets Tortilla Flat during the Depression era in a town just outside of Monterey, California and with his signature style captures the flavor of that time period and geographic area.It will not surprise anyone that I thoroughly enjoyed Tortilla Flat. I have long come to recognize Steinbeck as an astute writer who crafts his characters with detail and empathy. Although this novella has a different feel and style from his better known novels such as East of Eden or The Grapes of Wrath, it is of the same high quality. In less than 200 pages, Steinbeck succeeds in drawing the reader into the world of the paisano and leaves her wanting for more.Highly recommended.
whiteck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The elevated conversational style of 'thee's" and "thou's" reveals the nobility of the humans that inhabit, so perfectly imperfect, this world. Can there be any more beautiful passage than that when The Pirate retells the story of the new cup to his dogs, and they look up past him as, surely, a visage of St. Anthony appears?
theageofsilt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was completely transported. The central characters are ne'er-do- wells who want nothing more than wine and a quiet place to sleep off the hangover, but they are harmless and mean well for the world. They have their sorrows, passions and spiritual epiphanies. Steinbeck well observes the town of Monterey at the turn of the century and the simple lives of its inhabitants. The writing is poetic in its simplicity.
jd234512 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I can honestly say I have never left a Steinbeck book without enjoying the experience, this may be my least favorite I've read of his so far. That said, however, I still enjoyed his tales of the paisanos. Through his words, you experience a kinship that is not generally found amongst many. A willful dependence of these friends to Danny and their simultaneous admiration and adoration for him. While he may not be something to aspire to, they can not help but respect him(even when he "flies off the handle"). Although it has been thought of to cast a certain group of people in a negative light, to me the landscape/scenery is the main point and these just happen to be the people that he associates with them. If he had not been so obsessed and absorbed with California, the story could have worked in another location with different people just the same. It seems that in writing this he felt a kinship that to him was inherent with his writing without thinking of the full ramifications.I can't say I have studied Steinbeck in great detail, so I may be way off in some of my assumptions, but it seems from reading these stories as well as Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday that he is truly devoted to the landscape and those found there. It may not be historical fiction, but it was truth to him. Some good stories that read very easily and add to a cohesive collection of his.
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book. As always with Steinbeck, the writing was wonderful, but I just could not summon up one ounce of empathy for this sorry lot of characters- lazy, immoral, filthy pigs all around. Now reading about unsavory characters is not necessarily a bad thing, but Steinbeck really admires these characters and portrays them somewhat as heroes (supposedly as Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table), which really put me off. The story itself is a series of episodes that reminded me quite a bit of Don Quixote.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year ago
A simple story of simple life. A collection of adventures to secure the next bottle of wine.
JBreedlove on LibraryThing More than 1 year 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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