Week 4: Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck


After re-reading John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat, I find myself wondering if I might ever reach the greatness of such storytelling. Tortilla Flat is a story about Danny, who inherits two houses, and his friends– Pablo, Pilon, Jesus Maria to name a few. Danny is an anti-hero (I think) and the story itself is rather simple– Danny had forgotten he inherited these houses and when he remembers he realizes he doesn’t need to be homeless anymore. He invited Pilon and asks him 15$ rent for the other house. Pilon finds Pablo and asks him to pay, and then finally they find Jesus Maria in a bush passed out after drinking some wine and offer him to pay 15$ rent to stay. This amounts to them burning down the house accidentally after they left a candle lit. Danny lets them move into his place and they continue their friendship. There are some altruistic moments– helping feed a poor family who loses their bean crop to severe rain and throwing a party for Danny. They take in the Pirate, who they know had money stashed in the forest. The Pirate and his five dogs join the crew. The ending is not terribly happy, though it is realistic. I enjoyed revisiting this story and am pretty sure this will be the next audiobook I record to share. This will be fun to read aloud!

11 comments on “Week 4: Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck”

  1. The cover is wonderful, just a beautiful design! As is your review. I know you love Steinbeck and one of these days I am going to need to make time to reread.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Funny thing- I haven’t purchased a Steinbeck book in recent history. Not since I was in high school. This one was in the trash at the library because the cover is rough. I love knowing that I can give it away and Tortilla Flat will find me again, no doubt.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never read Steinbeck. I remember seeing the movie Of Mice and Men years ago. It was very powerful. There is just so much to read–old classics and new works that are beautifully written. Reading has really helped me survive during this pandemic. Having a place where we can share about what we read has made reading even more of a blessing. Thanks to all.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. we all make this place what it is– lucky to have you hear; lucky to have this space


  3. Borkali, so glad you showed us this book cover. I love a paperback book with some age on it! I’d like to sniff this one. I thought I was weird about this sniffing until I listened to a couple of pianists talk in a Zoom session yesterday about the relative merits of a printed score vs. a downloaded digital score. Yes, you can write on the printed score and see what others have written, but you can also smell the pages! Now that made me happy. So I feel free to mention this. 🙂

    Steinbeck is a fave, but I haven’t read Tortilla Flat. So, thanks for the heads-up. Borkali, you record yourself reading books? It would make sense since I have told you that your voice is like the sound of silver bells.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. JNaz, as someone I once worked for used to say, “Pleasing you pleases me.” It was our mantra in the office and in our restaurants.

        Liked by 2 people

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