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The Log From the Sea of Cortez - John Steinbeck

This is Steinbeck’s account of a six week voyage he took in 1940 to the Gulf of California with a small crew and his good friend and muse the marine biologist Ed Ricketts (Ricketts was the inspiration for the character of Doc in Steinbeck’s excellent novels ‘Cannery Row’ and ‘Sweet Thursday’). I expected from its blurb that this was to be a tale of camaraderie and adventure. I was disappointed to say the least.

I think what Steinbeck was trying to put across was the magic of the sea and all its creatures but it comes across as a very academic log with no real spark. It’s quite dull and repetitive (unless you have an interest in the latin names for sea cucumbers), and I found myself skipping whole pages and paragraphs which is a rarity for me with any book, especially one by JS. This is the thirteenth Steinbeck book I have read and the first that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. I’d recommend John Steinbeck to anybody but with this one if you’ll excuse the nautical pun, I’d give it a wide berth.

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