Whores, pimps, gamblers, sons of bitches

Poking around in the library this morning, i came across John Steinbeck short but wonderful novel Cannery Row, which i’ve never read but always meant to, and now shall (it’s only about a hundred pages). Check out this stellar first paragraph, one of the best i’ve ever read:

Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky-tonks, restaurants and whore-houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flop houses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, ‘whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,’ by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peep-hole he might have said: ‘Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,’ and he would have meant the same thing.

What a stab of homesickness! If those words don’t evoke Tofino and Ucluelet, i don’t know what does. (No offence, friends.)

Author: Greg Blee

Poster to my own gregblee.ca blog, and others.

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