We somehow started talking about Steinbeck on Saturday, and I promptly picked a few of his novels down from the shelf in order to remember to read them. I started this week with Tortilla Flat – the others may have to wait since I have a few bookring books to get through.
Tortilla Flat is about the Paisanos of California. More specifically it is about Danny, who, on coming home from the war suddenly finds himself the owner of two houses. Having been a slacker all his life he feels the burden of property keenly, but giving shelter to his band of friends, Pilon, Jesus Marie, Big Joe Portagee, Pablo and the Pirate, helps to (mostly) dispel the gloom. The friends only work when there is a specific need for it, most of the time they survive by stealing or begging for scraps. When they can get hold of wine they get gloriously drunk and most of their days are spent lazing around on the porch in the sun. They are a likable bunch, despite their tendency to regard other people’s property as fair game, and I have a feeling they’ll stay with me.