Read Dataran Tortilla by John Steinbeck Djokolelono Online


Dataran Tortilla (Tortilla Flat) menggambarkan kehidupan kaum paisano—rakyat jelata yang berdarah campuran Spanyol, Indian, Meksiko, dan Kaukasia di sebuah daerah nelayan yang miskin. Danny, seorang non-konformis, memimpin sekelompok petualang, hidup bersenang-senang tanpa pertimbangan buruk-baik. Tapi sebuah tragedi yang menimpa kelompok petualang ini merupakan amanat halDataran Tortilla (Tortilla Flat) menggambarkan kehidupan kaum paisano—rakyat jelata yang berdarah campuran Spanyol, Indian, Meksiko, dan Kaukasia di sebuah daerah nelayan yang miskin. Danny, seorang non-konformis, memimpin sekelompok petualang, hidup bersenang-senang tanpa pertimbangan buruk-baik. Tapi sebuah tragedi yang menimpa kelompok petualang ini merupakan amanat halus dari pengarang mengenai nilai hakikat manusia dalam menghadapi nasib....

Title : Dataran Tortilla
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9786024240127
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 232 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dataran Tortilla Reviews

  • Roddy
    2019-07-01 12:27

    I learned from this book that I continue to love Steinbeck. I despise the idea that he (like hemmingway for that matter) is sometimes considered a "simple" writer. Here's my opinion: Using flowery prose to add weight and impart meaning on a vaporous story is not great literature. A substantive story, containing meaning and moral, simply told IS great literature. This is what I run into every time I read Steinbeck. Hemmingway too. Simple construction - departing every so often to show off that yes, they know EXACTLY what they're describing - for the most part just recording the story as they would an event that really happened. They don't need a $2 word every couple paragraphs, they need maybe three per book. Besides, none of the characters would know the word, so why would you use it to describe them? What are you, better than your subject? I think the point Steinbeck constantly makes is - no, you're not. The characters are interesting and simply made, archetypes almost. I've heard its a Camelot tale and I can see it. They even use "Thou" and "Thee" in some parts. But it never seems heavy handed, you can almost see the characters realizing they're playing a part and stepping up to do it. Like Cannery Row, its about a lot of down on their luck guys, and the people of the town about them. Some richer, some poorer, all with their own little story. And Steinbeck seems to love the little side stories. Thankfully, he's so quick with his pen they're like brief tangents that come, then go once you've gotten the point of them. He never departs from our subjects for more than a couple pages, never spends 5 pages describing a rock or a particular tree, or even any of the men or the home they live in. A story that makes your throat tighten at the end, and makes you wish...well, you're supposed to read it. But the desire to keep things as they are is a very strong one in real life, Steinbeck makes you feel that desire and sense of loss in the little world he creates, and it takes him less than 200 pages to do it.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-21 15:18

    Much has been said about Steinbeck's apparent portrayal of Mexican Americans as lazy, amoral drunkards in Tortilla Flat. Some say Steinbeck was racist; some say he was just a product of his time. Which is right I do not know; Steinbeck may very well have been racist (he also uses "jew" as a slur and in several of his books uses unflattering stereotypes of Chinese people). I know nothing of the man's personal beliefs about race and it is a common fallacy to suppose an author always agrees with his narrator. But Steinbeck was certainly a product of his time. Which begs the question: can racism be excused if it's just a product of its time? Was it appropriate for Al Jolson to put on blackface makeup and sing "Mammy" because it wasn't politically incorrect back then? Was Twain's depiction of Jim no more than a minstrel show in print? And can we, as products or our time, truly judge these things with an unbiased eye?Perhaps being "a product of his time" means something else. Perhaps Steinbeck's characterization of these paisanos as layabout drunks had nothing to do with their race and everything to do with the time and area in which they lived. Prohibition and the Great Depression made loafing lushes out of men of all races, colors, and creeds. Wine was verboten, so men wanted it all the more. Jobs were hard to come by, so eventually men stopped trying. This is the impression I got from reading this book: not that the paisanos were lazy, drunk, amoral, and poor because they were Mexican, but because in 1935 they didn't have anything else to do.

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-07-13 12:22

    Tales of the tall variety about a silly gang of friends whose boy's club antics remind one at times of "The Three Stooges" or "Last of the Summer Wine" as they cast about in search of adventure and drink, spinning their own unbelievable yarns while getting drunk, and philosophizing with wild abandon - be damned the passing of the day! Hell, there's even Yogi Bear-ish picnic basket pinching scene! Nonsense, it's all nonsense! Or is it? I seem to recall something quite profound was said somewhere in there amongst the inane, convoluted logic and self-serving prattle...maybe it was the wine talking?Steinbeck dips back into the well of central-coast California, planting gypsy-esque Spaniard immigrants in a fictional town near Monterey called Tortilla Flat, a town and people so colorful he almost runs out of paint while doing their portraits. But no, Steinbeck's brush stays charged through out. He layers it on, at times too thick for seriousness. Thank goodness Tortilla Flat seldom gets too serious. Certainly there are solemn moments: a death, a beating, friendships tested. Occasionally these moments threaten to collapse the whole buoyant structure. Perhaps a scene or two is too morbid for this otherwise laugh-riot. Oh, pass the jug of wine and don't let it trouble you!

  • James
    2019-06-30 11:00

    ‘Tortilla Flat’ (1935) was John Steinbeck’s first significant literary success – both popular and critical. Put simply and in Steinbeck’s own words, Tortilla Flat is the story of “Danny and of Danny’s friends and of Danny’s house” – his inheritance.Danny and his assorted friends are ‘paisanos’ – countrymen of Spanish, Indian, Mexican and Caucasian mixed heritage. Danny and his ‘band of brothers’ are essentially, in Steinbeck’s eyes, decent people who play life very much according to their own rules. This is familiar territory that Steinbeck revisited later (to great effect) in both ‘Cannery Row’ and its sequel ‘Sweet Thursday’ for which Tortilla Flat can be seen as a template. In one sense, the stories of Danny and the paisanos feel almost mythological, somewhat biblical certainly and even Arthurian. Indeed Steinbeck in his preface to the novel notes that Danny’s house is not unlike the Round Table and his friends are not unlike the Arthurian knights of legend.Tortilla Flat was adapted as a film and released in 1942 – however Steinbeck was less than impressed with the cinematic depiction of Danny and friends as ‘quaint, underdogs, curious and dispossessed’ and even suggested that had he known, he may well have not written their stories in the first place. Goodness knows what Steinbeck thought of the very Hollywood re-writing of the ending of the story? Modern and contemporary writers and critics have cited that Steinbeck’s portrayal of the paisanos and their way of life, is not an accurate one and does somewhat perpetuate stereotypes of Mexican Americans. To that extent, Steinbeck was indeed a product of, and subject to his times. These are important points to be raised and conversations to be had – but these were very different times and it was a very different America. In context, being published in 1935 – Tortilla Flat was apparently enjoyed by many American readers as escapism from the Great Depression of the time. But in spite of such criticism and the confines of 1935 – the brilliance of Steinbeck’s work clearly transcends its time and despite contemporary criticism concerning (seemingly unintentional) racial stereotyping, Steinbeck’s work still rings true and strikes many a chord with the 21st century reader some 80+ years later.Whilst certainly not in the same league of literary brilliance as ‘East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath’ etc – Tortilla Flat is nevertheless a fine book. It is a straightforward, yet powerful story – a very human story, simply told with great feeling for the narrative and empathy with the characters.

  • RobertBurdock
    2019-06-28 10:02

    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.

  • Nikos Tsentemeidis
    2019-07-17 12:04

    Η αλληλεπίδραση του κακού και του καλού. Ο πόνος και ο ανθρωπισμός. Δυνατά συναισθήματα από ήρωες που λυπάσαι αλλά και σέβεσαι. Πολυ δυνατή η πένα του Steinbeck. Έργο βαθιά ανθρώπινο

  • Kim
    2019-07-02 12:18

    Although it was initially rejected for publication on a number of occasions, this work – a short story cycle - was Steinbeck’s first real critical and commercial success,. He wrote it during 1933 and early 1934, when he was heavily involved in caring for his elderly parents, who were both were very ill. Steinbeck was inspired to write the book by a high school teacher friend, who was partly of Mexican descent. She had been studying the paisanos, poor people of mixed Mexican, Native American and Caucasian ancestry, who lived in a shantytown in the hills above Monterey. Steinbeck's friend told him a number of stories from that community, which was referred to as Tortilla Flat. One of Steinbeck’s abiding literary passions was Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table. He aimed to recreate the spirit of the adventures of the Knights of the Round Table in linked stories about Danny and his friends Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria, the Pirate and Big Joe Portagee. Living together in a house inherited by Danny, the friends develop a strong moral code which governs their relationship with each other. This code does not involve sobriety or other indicia of bourgeois respectability, such as respect for private property. While stealing from a friend is punished severely, stealing from those outside the group is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. There is a lot to like about this work. The satirical, mock-heroic tone is clever, the characters of Danny and his friends are well-realised and sympathetically drawn, there's plenty of humour and Steinbeck’s prose is wonderful. On the other hand, to a modern reader the depiction of the paisanos as heavy drinking, thieving no-hopers – albeit with a strong code of friendship and mutual support – is disconcerting. And the sexual politics of the characters is questionable to say the least. This is not my favourite Steinbeck. Although I appreciate Steinbeck’s achievement in recreating a version of the myth of the Knights of the Round Table and I love the characters and the writing, the work feels dated, which cannot be said of Steinbeck’s major novels. I listened to an audiobook which was very well narrated by John McDonough. It gets 3-1/2 stars, because anything Steinbeck wrote is worth reading.

  • Paul
    2019-07-15 16:20

    This novel could easily be a set of short stories, a morality tale (or immorality!), a retelling of the Arthurian legends or a retelling of the gospels with a very alternative last supper!Danny and his friends (all paisanos) spend their time looking for food, wine, shelter and women and this is pretty much all they need in life to be content. Getting hold of wine is a thread through the book and its role is important; sharing your wine is true friendship and there are some excellent quotes"Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually the jugs may be graduated thus: just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. Two inches farther down, sweetly sad memory. Three inches more, thoughts of old and satisfactory loves. An inch, thoughts of bitter loves. Bottom of first jug, general and undirected sadness. Shoulder of the second jug, black, unholy despondency. Two fingers down, a song of death and longing. A thumb, every other song one knows. The graduations stop here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point on, anything can happen." Steinbeck has been accused of recism and stereotyping. I can understand why and the book is of its time. Howeverthere is no real malice in the portrayal of Danny and his firends. I was strongly reminded of a group of friends I had when I finished university in 1981. I was living in bedsit land as were we all and our lives revolved for a short time around food, drink, interesting liaisons (more detail on application!!) and arguing about life. The bonds were loose and people drifted in and out, but there was the same sense in the group as I found in Tortilla Flat. Ultimately friendship and wine do mean more than money. I know this isn't a substantial or important work but I loved it and its themes are universal.

  • Joe Valdez
    2019-06-25 11:03

    John Steinbeck has become an author whose books I can open to virtually any page and settle into a world I never want to leave. Even the men I work with who find fiction "theatrical" and rarely read books break into a smile at the mention of Steinbeck. His 1935 breakthrough Tortilla Flat was likely assigned reading in high school and it stands as a remarkable introduction to the author, with twenty-seven easily digested and related stories penned with faerie tale simplicity, wit and wonder.The world of Tortilla Flat is the town of Monterey, California, which has not been touched by the Great Depression and not yet mobilized for World War II. Steinbeck would later explore the lower parts of town inhabited by the catchers and canners of fish in Cannery Row, but this book is set on the slope of a hill, "where the forest and the town intermingle, where the streets are innocent of asphalt and the corner free of street lights". This is a place known as Tortilla Flat.Tortilla Flat is inhabited by the paisano. Steinbeck writes, What is a paisano? He is a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Mexican and assorted Caucasian bloods. His ancestors have lived in California for a hundred or two years. He speaks English with a paisano accent and Spanish with a paisano accent. When questioned concerning his race, he indignantly claims pure Spanish blood and rolls up his sleeve to show that the soft inside of his arm is nearly white.The main player is Danny, a paisano who enlists in the army and spends World War I breaking mules in Texas. When he returns home, Danny discovers his viejo (grandfather) has died and left him two small houses in Tortilla Flat. The responsibility of managing such wealth weights heavy on Danny and sends him on a reign of terror smashing windows, earning him a 30-day stay in the Monterey city jail. Upon his escape, Danny encounters his old friend, the logician Pilon, a wanderer who works a little, drinks a lot and sleeps against whichever tree he falls down next to. Danny is determined not to let his wealth go to his head and offers Pilon room and board at the second of his houses. Pilon offers to pay ten dollars a month in rent, a sum which Danny never expects to collect and Pilon never intends to pay.Pilon encounters his friend Pablo, a philosopher who sleeps under the wharf. Pilon offers Pablo board for fifteen dollars a month, rent which Pilon never expects to collect and Pablo never intends to pay. But under Pilon's logic, he will not have to pay Danny rent until Pablo pays him rent. Passed out drunk one night, Pilon and Pablo burn the house to the ground and move in with Danny.Others join them: the humanitarian Jesus Maria, the dim-witted rascal Big Joe and finally The Pirate, a vagrant who sells pitchwood for a quarter a day yet lives in a chicken coop with his five beloved dogs. Pilon deduces that The Pirate had buried his earnings somewhere in the forest and invites him (and the dogs) to live with them in the hopes of discovering the location of his cache. Many adventures featuring Danny and his friends ensue. These paisano tales become legend in Tortilla Flat. Steinbeck's chapter titles foreshadow the action nicely: I) How Danny, home from the wars, found himself an heir, and how he swore to protect the helpless. V) How Danny's Friends became a force for Good. How they succored the poor Pirate. IX) How Danny was ensnared by a vacuum-cleaner and how Danny's Friends rescued him.Steinbeck's fiction has it all. There's drinking, singing, fighting and romancing, the cornerstones of a hard earned life. There's pathos, with characters considering the mysteries of the universe and why things happen the way they do. There are Caucasian, Mexican and Asian characters, as well as women, driving the story. The measure of a man is not where he works or whether he drives a car. Material rewards are anchors these free-spirited characters would prefer to live without. Instead, the measure of a man is how he treats his friends. I always find this world view supremely reassuring. MGM released a film adaptation of Tortilla Flat in 1942 starring John Garfield as Danny, Spencer Tracy as Pilon and Hedy Lamarr as Dolores, the single lady who Danny gets into all sorts of trouble with after bestowing a vacuum cleaner to. Directed by Victor Fleming, the picture wraps everything up with a happy ending which was not a going concern in Steinbeck's source material.

  • Olaf Gütte
    2019-06-20 11:00

    Eigentlich eine Tragödie, die Erzählung von Danny und seinen Freunden,aber mit viel Ironie und Zynismus macht John Steinbeck daraus eine liebens- und lesenswerteGeschichte von den Bewohnern eines kleinen Hauses am Rande von Monterey, deren einzigeLebensaufgabe darin besteht, täglich etwas zu essen und ein paar Gallonen Wein zu besorgen.

  • Becky
    2019-07-18 15:12

    I loved this book. I did. Here's why: simple, straightforward, but oh-so-charming storytelling. No pretenses. What you see, is what you get. Danny. Pilon. Big Joe Portagee. Pablo Sanchez. Jesus Maria Corcoran. Pirate and his dogs. Some might argue that none of these are great characters. You might even make the (valid) point that each one is a 'failure' of sorts--since between them they're barely surviving by the world's standards. They live to drink and drink to live. But are they happy? Yes! These are happy-go-lucky guys that know what they want out of life. Wine and women--but no commitments or responsibilities.The story is essentially this: a young man--a soldier--returns from World War I to learn that he has inherited two houses. After some time in jail, he remembers his new-found wealth and decides to take up residence in one of the houses. But right from the start, Danny is a magnet for like-minded men who love this free and easy lifestyle. First Pilon. Then Pablo. Then the others. These men take up with him because essentially there's just one rule: the bed is off limits. Danny's bed is Danny's bed. The only other rule is share and share alike. IF and when you find yourself in the possession of a gallon or jug of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) you have to share with everyone living there. Likewise, food is to be shared. No rent is required.The storytelling. It is so good. So humorous. So accessible. There's a rightness about it. It would be hard to pick a favorite chapter, but I'll narrow it down to two.I loved "How Danny Was Ensnared By A Vacuum-Cleaner and How Danny's Friends Rescued Him." It was just so funny. Essentially, the story goes something like this. Danny is seduced by a local woman, Dolores Engracia Ramirez ("Sweets" Ramirez). When Danny happens across some money--a rare event as you'll see if you pick this one up--he decides to buy a present for his girl, who in an equally rare state-of-mind has decided to be a one-man woman...temporarily at least. What does he buy her? A vacuum cleaner! The problem? No one in Tortilla Flat has electricity! Does this make the present any less appreciated? No! Sweets prides herself on being the only one with this fancy sweeping tool. And she never ceases to bring it up in conversation. She's seen rolling it around her house and making humming-motor noises. Anyway, hysterical as that is--and I suppose you'll have to trust me on that--his friends aren't happy with Danny's infatuation. So they decide to steal the vacuum and trade it for a gallon or two of wine. So they return home and tell Danny... The friends received him in silence when he entered Danny's house. He set one jug on the table and the other on the floor. "I have brought you a present to take to the lady," he told Danny. "And here is a little wine for us." They gathered happily, for their thirst was a raging fire. When the first gallon was far gone, Pilon held his glass to the candlelight and looked through it. "Things that happen are of no importance," he said. "But from everything that happens, there is a lesson to be learned. By this we learn that a present, especially to a lady, should have no quality that will require a further present. Also we learn that it is sinful to give presents of too great value, for they excite greed." The first gallon was gone. The friends looked at Danny to see how he felt about it. He had been very quiet, but now he saw that his friends were waiting on him.... (109)I'll leave you hanging as to what happens next. My second favorite adventure is "How Danny's Friends Threw Themselves To The Aid of a Distressed Lady."I loved these characters. They're all distinct and wonderfully flawed. Though these men are very simple and seemingly simple-minded, there is a wisdom at times in their words. Pilon complained, "It is not a good story. There are too many meanings and too many lessons in it. Some of those lessons are opposite. There is not a story to take into your head. It proves nothing." "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." (168)I recommend this one to folks wanting to read a classic...but who feel somewhat intimidated and bored by more traditional 'classics.' It was just a joy to keep reading.

  • Cindy Newton
    2019-07-17 16:20

    This is a charming and humorous tale of the adventures of a group of erstwhile paisanos in California after World War I. I was confused when I started this because they were addressing each other as "thee" and "thou", and I did not think this was a common patois of southern California at this time in history. Then I read in the book description that Steinbeck had based the book on Camelot and used the structure and themes of Arthurian legends, and it made a little more sense. However, as I kept reading the entertaining exploits of Danny, Pilon, Pancho, the Pirate, Jesus Maria, and Big Joe, I was forcibly reminded of Don Quixote. Steinbeck's characters' playfulness, their devotion and loyalty to each other, their genial view on life in general, it all just reminded me of Don Quixote and his faithful sidekick. Their ability to turn every situation to fit their view, their generosity and ready sympathy for the downtrodden, and their quick forgiveness to those who have wronged them seemed to echo the defining principles of Quixote as he travelled about in his quest.Despite their complete disregard for the law or the rights of possessions of others, you cannot help but be charmed by this lovable group of loafers. They spend their days idling in the sun, calculating ways and means to assuage their constant desire for wine. While they are known to indulge in an occasional lie or act of petty theft, they are quick to defend their friends or offer aid to anyone in need. I found the ending a fitting finale as the book closed on the adventures of this merry band.

  • D.B. Woodling
    2019-06-29 11:21

    In this short novel, published in 1935, the author accomplished what he has consistently achieved, awakening emotion through lifelike characters. Written during the depression, it is no wonder Steinbeck’s destitute but optimistic characters appealed to the masses. Their appreciation of basic needs — with the occasional bottle of wine and a lusty woman thrown in — struck a chord with so many experiencing similar hardships.Though criticized for a demeaning portrayal of Mexican-Americans, Steinbeck's depiction of camaraderie and an Arthurian parallel defends such negative evaluation. Embodying the simple disposition of Danny, the main character, and his vagabond disciples, Steinbeck's narrative is both powerful and moving.

  • Kev D'Olivo
    2019-07-14 15:18

    Some things i noticed about this book:1. Allegory for King Arthur and the knights of the Roundtable2. Danny's good side represents Arthur, while his wild side represents Lancelot's later character. 3. For a while i thought Danny was a figure of christ becasue of his forgiving and sacrificial nature, but his later exploits dispeled this notion. 4. Torelli is definitley a symbol for Satan, the snake imagery surrounding his character is hard to miss.5. The big party for Danny = the last supper. 6. Danny, Pilon, and Jesus Maria all represent different characteristics of christ. Danny= forgiveness, sacrificalPilon= Charisma (and his sly ability to "turn water into wine")Jesus Maria= humanitary aspectsThis is probably part of the King Arthur allegory but maybe not.

  • Jeff
    2019-07-17 11:18

    This was a fun read. I can see where some might be rubbed the wrong way by Tortilla Flat due to the political incorrectness of the time when it was written but most of the shenanigans come across to me as innocent and harmless and the main characters to me seem to be colored positively, as likable knuckleheads. Oh, and one character, the Pirate, had a pack of five obedient, loyal, and lovable dogs named Enrique (houndish), Pajarito (brown and curly), Rudolph ("an American dog"), Fluff (a Pug), and Señor Alec Thompson (!) (an Airedale). Like other Steinbeck that I've read, the words flow smoothly. He can make you laugh and then put a lump in your throat in the next sentence. The first paragraph lays out the plot: "This is story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house", and "when you speak of Danny's house you are understood to mean a unit from which came sweetness and joy, philanthropy and, in the end, a mystic sorrow." And of course, the Round Table is mentioned early on, the connection to which becomes evident as you read along. My advice: buy a gallon of wine from Torrelli (wink), snuggle in with your best pooch and dig in to this short novel.

  • Taylor
    2019-07-06 10:28

    Tortilla Flat is quite a number of things. On the surface, it's a short novel about a group of friends with certain proclivities towards drinking wine. A lot of wine. On another level it's supposedly a retelling of the Knights of the Round Table, but I am not even going to front like I know enough about that to appreciate that connection at its depths. On another level, suiting our economic times, it's also about rising up in social classes -- how difficult it is to do, what happens to us and our friends and family when that change occurs, and how easy it is to undo. (While typing that I came to the realization that Tortilla Flat has quite a few things in common with one of my favorite movies, Trading Places.)Tortilla Flat is a poor, close-knit community near Monterey. Steinbeck's novel of the same name revolves around the stories of its residents -- who themselves star and indulge in their fair amount of gossip and storytelling -- but especially a group of friends who find themselves indebted to one of their own. Danny, upon returning from a stint of cattle herding and shepardship during the war, finds that his grandfather has passed and left him not one but two houses. Being a landowner even now holds a certain amount of distinction, and in Tortilla Flat it holds even more. Slowly, Danny and his group of friends move through various stages of response to Danny's inheritance. Guilt, jealousy, selfishness, acceptance, sharing, obligation, appreciation, etc. The transitions are difficult for all involved, but the group of friends finds communal bliss for a time when they are all living under one roof, contributing to one another's goals and well-being. A few reviews on Goodreads argue that Steinbeck displays some unflattering thoughts about who he calls "paisanos" -- and while obviously I am perhaps not in the best place to make an argument either way, I would say that, reading into it, and knowing a bit about Steinbeck, I didn't quite have that impression, though I can possibly understand why others might. But if nothing else, Tortilla Flat lends a romantic air to the lives of its characters, and Steinbeck seems to be rallying against the notion of property ownership and riches and the effect they have on the people who come into them (unless these things are used for a greater good than one's own). Not to mention, Steinbeck's house/the Steinbeck museum is also part museum about the experience of migrant workers, as he was particularly passionate about their issues.In addition to the influence of economic statuses, Tortilla Flat has a lot to say about judging lest ye be judged. The friends, at times, are not all that great to each other -- they do mean, selfish things in the name of money, wine, and love. But then one realizes that most of us have done terrible things in our time in the name of money, wine, and love. The men and women who roam Tortilla Flat are more forgiving and understanding than most, particularly if repentance comes in the form of wine (which I can totally get behind).Like other Steinbeck works I've read there's this beautiful balance between the sweet and the sour in Tortilla Flat. Steinbeck gut-punches your heart and cuddles it like a soft creature in about equal measure. I have gone back and forth on whether or not I think he's a pessimist or an optimist (thanks to this book, I have been doing that a lot), and I feel like maybe he's a realistic optimist and that's part of why he resonates deep inside my soul, but, you know, maybe not. Either way, Steinbeck gets me on a very emotional level that feels wrought from my own muscle and tissue, and for even just that alone, I'll continue to pick up and devour his books.

  • F.R.
    2019-07-01 15:10

    I went to Monterey recently (on my honeymoon, as it happens) and was utterly charmed by the place. A quirky and picturesque seaside town nestled on the coast of California, which manages to be touristy without being tacky, historic while still embracing the modern, and sleepy even when recognising the cosmopolitan. Also, it does damn good clam chowder. Having gone there and somewhat fallen in love with the place, how could I then resist the writings of its most famous son? Particularly when that favourite son is actually writing about Monterey.Danny and his friends are paisanos – literally, ‘countrymen’ – who live to drink and carouse in the hills about Monterey. On the death of his grandfather, Danny inherits two houses and his friends move in with him and life takes on a pattern of camaraderie, easy-going adventures and above all the quest for wine.Clearly these low-rent Arthurian adventures are there to charm, and one would have to have a hard heart not to feel the charm bubbling from every sentence. These are colourful characters, they have colourful experiences and they live in colourful times. One could almost wish to live a life where no work is done and the only thing that mattered is the next drop of wine. On the charm front, on the colour front, Steinbeck excels himself as a writer. But it’s hard to really warm to these characters. I like a drink myself, but these guys are alcoholics at the low functioning end of the spectrum and to read of them in such romantic terms just feels a bit jarring. Their hunt for wine can be charming, amusing, thrilling in a gentle kind of way – but it frequently leads them to crime and the screwing over not only other people, but each other. Any crime is dismissed with a shrug, as there are no real victims and wine is important and if they do anything really bad they feel remorse. But that ongoing recklessness of their lives does become a tad unremitting even with a surfeit of Steinbeck charm.In a way this felt like a load of Damon Runyon stories stitched together, but in a more laid-back setting. And much like the Runyon stories, they’re good people to see from a distance but one wouldn’t want to hang around them for too long.It was dead nice to revisit Monterey though. Ah, the memories….”There is a changeless quality about Monterey. Nearly every day in the morning the sun shines in the windows on the west side of the streets; and, in the afternoons, on the east side of the streets. Every day the red bus clangs back and for between Monterey and Pacific Grove. Every day the canneries send a stink of reducing fish into the air. Every afternoon the wind blows in from the bay and sways the pines on the hills. The rock fisherman sit on the rocks holding their poles, and their faces are graven with patience and with cynicism.”The cannery is now the world’s best aquarium, but you get the picture.

  • Chiara
    2019-07-11 14:05

    Come Danny, gli amici di Danny e la casa di Danny mi intrattennero durante l'estatePian della Tortilla mi lascia spiazzata: ci sono cose che ho apprezzato, cose che non mi hanno colpita. In generale, me lo aspettavo diverso. E' la prima volta che leggo Steinbeck, e di sicuro non ho iniziato dai titoloni; ho iniziato dall'esordio, dallo scrittore ancora acerbo, se mi devo fidare delle numerose recensioni.Questo romanzo breve è un turbinio di personaggi, uno più strambo dell'altro, che si arrabattano tutto il giorno per un gallone di vino, vivono alla giornata (o forse sarebbe più corretto dire che vivono un po' come viene), rubano, si azzuffano, poi si riappacificano. Monterey e il suo quartiere più povero - Pian della Tortilla, appunto - sono descritte con suprema maestria: le vicende di questi eroi sono raccontate in tutta la loro miseria. Tuttavia, mi rimane come la sensazione che l'autore abbia imbastito una grandiosa scenografia (ottima, senza alcun dubbio), per poi lasciare il palcoscenico senza il dramma. Dov'è la storia? Perché per circa la prima metà di lettura, mi sono chiesta quando saremmo arrivati al dunque. Poi, una volta capito che il dunque non sarebbe arrivato, sono passata alla stessa filosofia buontempona di Danny e i suoi amici, e l'ho presa alla leggera. Se non altro, mi sono goduta alcuni passaggi davvero impressionanti, eccone uno:Il senso del tempo è vicino al mare più complesso che in altri luoghi, poiché, oltre all'andirivieni del sole e delle stagioni, vi sono le onde che battono i minuti sulla spiaggia, e le acque che salgono e scemano per la marea come dentro a un'immensa clessidra.

  • Anna [Floanne]
    2019-06-24 10:26

    Molto lontano dai drammi e dalla tensione narrativa di Furore, la storia di questi simpatici paisanos di Pian della Tortilla è leggera e divertente. A tratti mi ha ricordato "Amici miei" per gli scherzi goliardici e per l'atmosfera tragicomica che investe le loro avventure. Pilon, Gesù Maria, il Pirata, Joe Portoghese il Grande, Pablo e il "ricco" Danny che li ospita nella sua casa ereditata sono un gruppo di beoni scansafatiche che ne escogitano una più del diavolo per riuscire a mettere le mani su un fiasco di vino. Tra una sbronza e l'altra si adoperano però per cercare di fare del bene ai loro compaesani più sfortunati, con esiti spesso nulli ma con idee assolutamente geniali e Steinbeck è grandioso a descriverli, dando loro quel tocco di umanità che li rende ancora più memorabili. Sono personaggi che si scolpiscono nella memoria per la loro unicità e simpatia. Mio padre me ne parlava sempre come di un libro spassoso e assolutamente da leggere, uno dei suoi preferiti. Aveva ragione! Voto: ★★★★½

  • brian
    2019-06-18 11:28

    one wonders if one could do away with ambition and computers and bookface and tivo and truly be happy living day to day, sleeping in a hollow log, stealing one's dinner from pumpkin patches and bean fields, trading a day's work for a jug of cheapo wine or a roll in the hay with a whore-with-a-heart-of-gold... of course, had steinbeck truly lived the life of the paisanos in his novel, he never could've written it! well, possibly written. never published. therein lies the argument for capitalism as the best of the worst, eh?this is one of those books, incidentally, in which characters tear through gallons of wine per drinking session. did people have higher tolerances back then? or did authors simply romanticize being drunk more?oh. and it's also one of those books in which 'jew' is used as a verb.

  • Jon
    2019-07-03 15:12

    Tortilla Flat was Steinbeck’s 1st critical and commercial success, but it hasn’t aged well over the years. The novel is a picaresque tale of a small group of friends who live up above Monterey in an area called Tortilla Flat. The friends are rogues who don’t work and survive by panhandling, occasionally stealing, and mooching off each other. Whatever money they get is quickly spent on wine and women, especially on wine. A gallon of wine costs $1.00 and, throughout the novel, there are multiple discussions about money using wine as the unit of measure. You have $3.00? You can pay your friend back the money you owe him or you could buy 3 gallons of wine. Better yet, you could buy the wine and then share it with your friend, which is far better for both of you than just giving him the money. The book cover that Goodreads uses pretty much sums up the book: the three main characters are shown sitting around drinking a jug of wine with their neighbor's chickens strolling nearby (they had cut a hole in the fence separating the two yards so the chickens would wander over and lay their eggs in their yard).The tone of the novel is very lighthearted, starting with the chapter titles. Each chapter title is an almost tongue in cheek recap of the events in it: “How Danny’s friends sought mystic treasure on Saint Andrew’s Eve. How Pilon found it and later how a pair of serge pants changed ownership twice” or “How the poison of possessions wrought with Pilon, and how evil temporarily triumphed in him.” What makes the novel problematic, at least by today’s standards, is that the characters in the novel are “paesanos,” or as Steinbeck describes them: “a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Mexican, and assorted Caucasian bloods.” So you have a group of largely Hispanic characters who are portrayed as shiftless, lazy, and drunkards. The characterization of them is just a few steps above Stepin Fetchit caricature. There’s also a streak of anti-Semitism in the novel that occurs whenever various characters are deemed selfish or ungenerous and they are invariably referred to as a “Jew.”The book was published in 1934, so what appears to a modern reader as politically incorrect would hardly raise an eyebrow 83 years ago. Steinbeck definitely wrote the novel without any trace of malice or mean-spiritedness. In fact, he was upset that many readers at the time considered the characters in the novel “bums.” In 1937, he wrote this in defense of his portrayal of the paesanos:" did not occur to me that paisanos were curious or quaint, dispossessed or underdoggish. They are people whom I know and like, people who merge successfully with their habitat...good people of laughter and kindness, of honest lusts and direct eyes. If I have done them harm by telling a few of their stories I am sorry. It will never happen again."The book is Steinbeck so it’s definitely worth reading for the writing and descriptive phrases, but be aware that it’s also a white author writing about people of color in a way that might have seemed funny and colorful 80+ years ago, but is a touch or more offensive by today’s standards

  • Connie
    2019-07-09 17:11

    Published in 1935, Tortilla Flat is one of John Steinbeck's earliest novels. The story revolves around Danny who inherits two old houses in the poor hillside area of Monterey after he returns from World War I. He and five paisanos live in the houses where they tell tall tales, drink wine, and chase women. The paisanos have a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Mexican, and Caucasian ancestry. In the preface, Steinbeck compares the adventures of Danny and the paisanos to those of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.Each chapter of the book tells one humorous tale. The friends love freedom and red wine, and have no desire for material things unless they can be traded for more wine. Only Pirate, a mentally challenged man, works by collecting firewood. The jobless paisanos spend a large amount of energy either stealing, or using their wits to trick someone to obtain what they need. They do have a warm comradeship, and love sitting in the sun sharing stories and a jug of wine. There were some emotionally touching stories, especially about Pirate and his devoted dogs. The paisanos acted a bit like Robin Hood in another story where they stole food so Teresina Cortez's eight children would not starve.I enjoyed Steinbeck's descriptions of Monterey--the fishermen on the rocks, the little houses dotting the hillsides, the warm sun, the woods that might hold buried treasure. It took me a little while to get into this picaresque novel, probably because it was so different from Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, one of my favorite books. Tortilla Flat tells the stories of a totally different group of poor people in California. Steinbeck uses humor and tall tales in this book, as compared to realism as he describes the overwhelming desperation and heroic undertakings in The Grapes of Wrath.

  • Ted Mallory
    2019-07-07 12:59

    Part way through Tortilla Flat, I commented to a friend that I found it odd that Steinbeck was writing about a group of homeless veterans and he never directly addresses either their war experience or the difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Now that I've finished it, (don't worry, this is not a spoiler) I think I was wrong. Maybe when it was first published in 1935 people didn't directly address such things anyway. These are WWI vets. "Shell Shocked" was a new concept and not necessarily a commonly applied one- especially to poor Mexican-Americans in Northern California. Steinbeck DOES wrap up Tortilla Flat sentimentally. He brings it full circle and reveals both the importance to his community of and the monumental difficulties and struggles of his central character, Danny. In between, Steinbeck has a whole lot of fun. At times reading Tortilla Flat is like watching episodes of The Little Rascals, only they're young men instead of little kids. Like Steinbeck does in other books, like the Grapes of Wrath, he opens a community to us that may be completely foreign to us, both culturally and socio-economically, without making any kind of moral judgement on his character's way of life. Because he's able to do this objectively and yet brings us into their lives, as equals, confidants, and cohorts, we can enjoy them and come to care for them, in spite of the fact that we'd probably never make the same kinds of choices they do. The "Paisanos" (country people, "red-necks") of Monterey's barrio neighborhood, Tortilla Flat are simultaneously full of honor and mischief, dignity, innocence, and plenty of sin.Maybe guys will be better able to appreciate the adolescent camaraderie shared by the occupants of Danny's house, but if women give it a chance and consider how they form a surrogate family for each other, I think that they may gain an insight into the fraternal nature of men of college/military age and the difficult transition from that "coming of age" time and the actual, real responsible adulthood that usually comes after.

  • piperitapitta
    2019-07-13 16:27

    La ravina e il burronePiù vado avanti con la lettura delle opere di Steinbeck in ordine cronologico (Furore e Vicolo Cannery li avevo già letti prima di iscrivermi al gruppo ""Steinbeck da leggere o rileggere) e più mi convinco che quest'autore - Premio Nobel, non dimentichiamolo - meriterebbe maggior rispetto dalle case editrici italiane con la messa in cantiere di nuove traduzioni dall'originale.Con questo non intendo affatto sminuire le traduzioni di Montale (Al Dio sconosciuto) e Vittorini (I Pascoli del cielo e Pian della Tortilla) che sono state sicuramente adatte per l'epoca in cui sono state pubblicate, ma semplicemente affermare che se la traduzione di Montale, così lirica e poetica, può essere ancora apprezzabile ai nostri giorni, quella di Vittorini, soprattutto in Pian della Tortilla, mi sembra veramente antiquata e stridente.Questa lunga parentesi perché purtroppo credo che questo approccio crei inevitabilmente una frattura immediata con il lettore che si trova a doversi confrontare con dei poveri diseredati, ignoranti e senza arte né parte, che sembrano invece essere nel loro modo di esprimersi paragonabili a dei guitti medioevali piuttosto che a dei paisanos del secolo scorso.Se dovessi dire che mi è piaciuto non sarei onesta, anche se tra la prima e la seconda parte, a mio parere, c'è un abisso: sembra quasi che Steinbeck l'abbia scritta in due momenti diversi, quasi in due epoche letterarie diverse.Nella seconda metà del romanzo ho trovato sprazzi e rimandi a quel piccolo gioiello che è Vicolo Cannery e la vicinanza tra le due opere è diventata sottilissima; come dicevamo nel gruppo, Pian della Tortilla sembra quasi il cartone preparatorio di Vicolo Cannery, se non fosse che l'ipotetica camera che inquadra la scena è ruotata di 180°: entrambi sono ambientati a Monterey, California, ma mentre Vicolo Cannery si svolge tutto a due passi dalla Baia, ed i suoi protagonisti, fra cui un gruppo di nullafacenti ""ubriaconi"" animati da buoni sentimenti nei confronti del Doc del quartiere, sono gli abitanti dei vicoli a due passi dal porto, in Pian della Tortilla Steinbeck si sposta nella parte alta della cittadina, ai confini con i boschi, ed i nullafacenti ""ubriaconi"" animati di buoni sentimenti questa volta sono dei paisanos.La prima parte però non mi è piaciuta granché, l'ho trovata molto povera, ma non perché ambientata tra i poveri e i vagabondi, quanto piuttosto stilisticamente: mi è sembrato affrettato nelle descrizioni e poco coinvolgente nel ritrarre un mondo così diverso da quello cui siamo abituati e del quale, proprio per questo, dovremmo subire il fascino.Poi però, ad un certo punto, ho letto queste parole di Steinbeck« Ho scritto queste storie perché sono storie vere e perché mi piacevano. Ma le sentinelle della letteratura hanno considerato i miei personaggi con la stupidità delle duchesse che si divertono coi contadini e li compiangono. Queste storie sono pubblicate ed io non le posso più riprendere, ma non sottometterò più al contatto degradante della gente perbene questi bravi esseri fatti di allegria e di bontà, di cortesia ben superiore a tutte le smancerie. Se ho causato loro dei torti raccontando qualcosa delle loro storie, me ne dispiace. Ciò non avverrà più. Adios, monte! »e mi sono sentita un po' a disagio, cattiva quasi, per non essere riuscita a calarmi in quel mondo e tra le sue genti e nonostante ciò per aver giudicato, commentato, pensato... Magari anche arricciato un po' il naso!Mi sono detta, comunque, che forse la colpa non è tutta mia se non ci sono riuscita, ma anche di Mondadori e Vittorini, che mi hanno costretta, nel 2010, a sentire dei contadini parlare di ""ravine"" piuttosto che di ""burroni"", fargli bere galloni di vino nelle fruttiere ed esprimersi con termini che se sono inconsueti per noi, figuriamoci per loro!C'è un capitolo però, a poche pagine dalla fine, non ricordo se l'ultimo o il penultimo, in cui tutta la magia e la capacità descrittiva di Steinbeck, unico nel suo modo di scrutare l'imperscrutabile nell'animo umano e di raffigurarne vizi debolezze e virtù, affiorano dolcemente (e allo stesso tempo prepotentemente) ripagando di pagine poco coinvolgenti e di uno stile, forse, ancora da trovare o da mettere a punto in maniera più convincente: se ce la faccio lo copio e lo inserisco nelle note a margine.Come dicevo però non si tratta di solo un capitolo, ma di una buona metà del romanzo: peccato non poter chiedere a Steinbeck cosa gli fosse capitato durante la stesura del romanzo tra la prima e la seconda parte :-)

  • Steven
    2019-07-17 12:24

    This King Arthuresque novel tells the story of a group of paisanos, local countrymen of Mexican-Indian-Spanish-Caucasian descent, living in a shabby district known as Tortilla Flat above the town of Monterey on the Californian coast. The story centers on Danny, or rather, it is "the story of Danny and of Danny's friends and of Danny's house. It is a story of how these three become one thing... when you speak of Danny's house you are to understand to mean a unit of which the parts are men, from which comes sweetness and joy, philanthropy and, in the end, a mystic sorrow." Danny and his friends have no jobs; they steal and trade and odd-job and share their way through life. They require little but food, wine, comradeship, and the occasional company of light women. They act in ways that are despicable and laudable, that will outrage and endear them to you. Their adventures are funny and sad, bewildering and human.As much as Tortilla Flat entertained me, it ultimately felt one-dimensional. The paisanos, as portrayed by Steinbeck, are alive in Tortilla Flat, but don't extend far beyond the pages as full-blooded people; they ultimately remain caricatures. Who can empathize, truly, with a group of people who do nothing but sit around and drink and fight and happily scrape together a meal from day to day? This is a criticism that was leveled at Steinbeck after the book was first published, and which hurt him. Readers didn't accept the paisanos with the charity of vision that Steinbeck extended them; the paisanos were seen as bums. It is worth noting what Steinbeck wrote in a foreword to a 1937 Modern Library Random House edition of the book, which was never reprinted: " did not occur to me that paisanos were curious or quaint, dispossessed or underdoggish. They are people whom I know and like, people who merge successfully with their habitat... good people of laughter and kindness, of honest lusts and direct eyes. If I have done them harm by telling a few of their stories I am sorry. It will never happen again." In defense of Steinbeck and his paisanos, I will say the following. While they may not be accepted completely as living characters, and while their inactivity, in a sense, can be frustrating, what transpires between them is where life and humanity stir. The touching moments of friendship, of good intentions, as well as the disquieting moments of stupidity and selfishness, come together in a large thread of human nature. I think that the novel can be summed up nicely by itself:Pilon complained, "It is not a good story. There are too many meanings and too many lessons in it. Some of those lessons are opposite. There is not a story to take into your head. It proves nothing.""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."Tortilla Flat means something, and you feel it at times throughout the novel; even if you're not quite sure what.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-07-10 11:20

    Tortilla Flat is a case of the meek inheriting the earth – some are meek in the head, some are meek in their moral attitudes and some have other kinds of meekness…“Teresina was a mildly puzzled woman, as far as her mind was concerned. Her body was one of those perfect retorts for the distillation of children. The first baby, conceived when she was fourteen, had been a shock to her; such a shock, that she delivered it in the ball park at night, wrapped it in newspaper, and left it for the night watchman to find. This is a secret. Even now Teresina might get into trouble if it were known.”John Steinbeck paints his aquarelle of lush colours and poetic kindness in bold strokes.

  • Dave Allen
    2019-07-11 15:59

    Never read any Steinbeck I didn't like!

  • Rosanna
    2019-07-13 09:28

    Comincia in modo leggero questo libro, tra persone e personaggi pieni di difetti: beoni, ladri, attaccabrighe eppure molto amici, molto attenti l'uno all'altro, con sentimenti puri come i pensieri sotto al portico al mattino, appena svegli e a sole alto.Comincia leggero e finisce in tragedia, con la perdita di tutto ciò che è materiale che comprime e uccide la libertà individuale di fare ciò che aggrada, nel momento in cui conviene...come buttarsi ubriaco giù da una ravina, come una fuga, come una ribellione, come un riappropriarsi di se stessi.

  • wutheringhheights_
    2019-07-13 16:22

    Uno stile diverso da quello di Uomini e topi, eppure un bellissimo libro. Assomiglia quasi ad una raccolta di storie sulla vita di Re Artù; c'è qualcosa di mitico e mistico nelle avventure di Danny e dei suoi amici Pilon, Pablo, Gesù, Joe il Portoghese e il Pirata. Libro pieno di umanità, di ironia, anche perché essere ironici ed essere umani nel migliore dei casi si equivale. Affascinante la narrazione e affascinanti i luoghi, gli stessi di Zorro. Monterey, la California. Meraviglioso meraviglioso, piccolo libro.

  • Guy Portman
    2019-07-11 11:29

    Danny is an unemployed alcoholic, leading a transient existence in Monterrey, California. When Danny inherits two houses in the shabby district of Tortilla Flat, he invites a hobo friend and fellow paisano (descendant of Spanish peasants) to live with him. Danny’s new lodger, Pilon, is a self-proclaimed logician, obsessed with morality. The pair are soon joined by workshy Jesus Maria, the mentally handicapped Pirate, and his pack of dogs.We follow their escapades, which entail endless wine drinking, fighting, forgiving, scheming, and interactions involving a bootlegger, several women of dubious repute, and various impoverished locals.Hapless yet noble characters populate this allegorical and didactic work that extols friendship and virtue over capitalism and materialism.This early Steinbeck novel (1935) closely parallels the fables about King Arthur. Shared themes include friendship, oath, inheritance and kingdom. Whilst Tortilla Flat is inferior to many of the author’s later efforts, this reader would not hesitate in recommending it to all Steinbeck aficionados.