Book review: Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck – Like a Cohort of Lemurs!

Tortilla FlatTortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like a good glass of wine, the flavors of this book need to be enjoyed smoothly and slowly. It’s an intriguing set of tales which illustrate the foibles of humanity as Danny and his compatriots seek out the basics of food, shelter and that jug of wine in the shanty town of Tortilla Flats. As they seek these necessities of life, the band of men, who might be likened to a cohort of Lemurs or Mongoose, are always on the move in an opportunistic manner. Their daily spoils of the hunt can always be rationalized according to their higher needs than those from whom they ‘lift’ their products. As the quest proceeds, an occasional opportunity for love or religious fulfillment of a dream will interject itself onto their paths and be taken as a logical gift from heaven. When the daily scurrying about for the necessities of life come to a close, there is always time for social interaction and the storytelling which has always been a part of humanity as they bask in the evening sun on the porch or around some furtively built campfire. The Hippies and Beatniks of my youth would have understood this lifestyle completely. Needs satisfied, human community interaction and an occasional chance to open the mind with a mind-altering bottle of wine that can take communication to new and sometimes stupid depths. A great book to read slowly. A chapter a night will certainly alter your dream patterns.

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