From a book recommendation in Post Road magazine, singing the praises of Tortilla Flat:
"There is a languorous and passive beauty in the descriptions of the lives of this poor and simple group of friends (as a depiction of the poor, the novella is often lumped as a kindred spirit with another of Steinbeck's Monterey-set novels, Cannery Row.) When I say "simple," I don't mean to sound condescending. The raison d'être of the group is simply this: to simultaneously avoid work while somehow procuring enough money to buy wine (a dollar per gallon seems to be the going rate at that time and place), and then to pass a pleasant evening swapping stories and/or raising hell. The group of friends—primarily Danny, Pablo, Pilon, Jesus Maria Corcoran, The Pirate, and Big Joe Portagee—pass their life in one long, hazy reverie of drinking, drink-induced light mischief, telling stories, dishing dirt, and passing judgment on the repetitive and sometimes hilarious events in the lives of their fellows. None of these proto-slacker anti-heroes really have to be anywhere or do anything, except for the above-mentioned wine procurement."