Author Rating: A

Tortilla Flats (read 3/20/09) Recommended

People are most familiar with Steinbeck through Grapes of Wrath but, in my opinion, you haven’t read Steinbeck until you’ve read Tortilla Flats.

First published in 1935, Tortilla Flats explores the trials — and meaning — of friendship and life. Each chapter is a short story which stands independently of the rest.

This is the story of Danny and of Danny’s friends and of Danny’s House. It is a story of how these three became one thing, so that in Tortilla Flat if you speak of Danny’s house you do not mean a structure of wood flaked with old whitewash, overgrown with an ancient untrimmed rose of Castile. No, when you speak of Danny’s house you are understood to mean a unit of which the parts are men, from which came sweetness and joy, philanthropy and, in the end, a mystic sorrow. For Danny’s house was not unlike the Round Table, and Danny’s friends were not unlike the knights of it. And this is the story of how that group came into being, of how it flourished and grew to be an organization beautiful and wise. This story deals with the adventuring of Danny’s friends, with the good they did, with their thoughts and their endeavors. In the end, this story tells how the talisman was lost and how the group disintegrated.

If you don’t read this book, you will miss something wonderful.