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East of Eden

Steinbeck, John (Book - 2003 )
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
East of Eden

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In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families#151;the Trasks and the Hamiltons#151;whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. The masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence.
Authors: Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968
Title: East of Eden
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Group,, 2003, c1952
Edition: John Steinbeck centennial ed
Characteristics: 601 p. ;,22 cm
Statement of Responsibility: John Steinbeck
ISBN: 0670033049
Branch Call Number: FICTION STEINBECK 2003
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Report This Mar 26, 2014
  • Lauraparr rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Another Steinbeck masterpiece. Very few authors have this ability to create characters and expose their strength and weaknesses in such powerful way. You get drawn in from the first page. Timeless - a true classic.

Report This Oct 15, 2013
  • AkhtarDanyal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

East of Eden (Written by John Steinbeck) is a rather hefty and intense book; first publish On the September 1952. The story follows various characters and point-of-view changes between Adam, Cathy, Samuel, Caleb and Aron. It is told from a third-person perspective, but the characters and their emotions are told and expressed in such a way that I at times forgot Steinbeck was writing in third-person. The characters are well written and expressed perfectly, and I even took a liking to the manipulative and evil Cathy, and that’s definitely saying something, as I’m usually not a fan of the crocodile-tears-and-manipulations kind of characters. She does the exact deeds that I hate, yet somehow, I still take a liking to her. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the other characters – Adam was a man that I rooted for and pitied at the same time, and his children. Caleb and Aron were two that I took an immediate liking to, though I enjoyed Caleb more, and I certainly did not expect how they ended up at the end of the book. Though the story of the book is amazing and dramatic, the length of the book is something to behold. Not to say that East of Eden is the longest book in the world – There are definitely longer books around that put its length to shame, but people looking for a quick read for pleasure or something to pass the time will want to look somewhere else. This book is the kind that one can spend hours analysing and thinking about, instead of simply reading and forgetting later on. There isn’t much I can say about this book without giving away too much – and trust me when I say that you want to read and experience every single event first-hand and without knowing of them beforehand. Despite the length, it’s a wonderful and intense book with characters, narrative and a plot that make the entire read all-around enjoyable and hard to stop reading, but weaker readers would want to go for something a little less thick. I’d definitely recommend it for strong readers.

Report This Apr 21, 2013
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Another incredible novel by Steinbeck who's characters are always flawed and vulnerable and so easy to become attached to.This was a very good book. Is it Steinbeck's best work? Probably, but for me it came in second to Of Mice and Men.

Report This Sep 29, 2012
  • largott07 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is simply my favorite novel of all time. Steinbeck always leaves me feeling that he loves his characters. His sensitive description even makes me feel a little sorry for Cathy at the end of her life. I have read this book several times, and never tire of Steinbeck's lyrical prose.

Report This Jul 17, 2012
  • Languid5 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is truly amazing. It is one that I go back to every few years and fall in love all over again. Mr. Steinbeck you are definitely one of my personal heroes!

Report This Jul 16, 2012
  • patienceandfortitude rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you've read other Steinbeck and have not read this, I highly recommend it. It has everything I look for in classic literature, beautiful writing, a timeless story, and much wisdom. Reading this was a delight.

Report This Jul 14, 2011
  • haploU5 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A tale about good vs. evil and human nature narrated by a master story-teller. This is Steinbeck's magnum opus. Highly recommended

Don’t pride yourself on how fast you can plough through this 600 page novel. Do that and you cheat yourself miserably and tragically. Savour East of Eden. Lose sleep over it. Fall in love with John Steinbeck. I read this book with unrushed excitement. On each seductive page Steinbeck taught me, entertained me, wooed me and of course wowed me. I will forgo the obvious commentary about the themes of good and evil, transgression and forgiveness, biblical reference and historical/geographical context to share some of the things I most loved about East of Eden: • The artful, infinitely patient manner with which the scenes are drawn out and “painted” – Steinbeck seems almost to forgo the “big picture” in favour of pouring every bit of literary muscle into a single complete page – often neatly framed between a particular, incidental and inanimate object like Lee’s comfortable chair. • Steinbeck’s liberal, amusing and original use of personification – how the sun “leans” on the roof of a barn as it sets. • The measured way in which the characters are revealed. They are not served up in the fullness of a banquet but rather as a continued circulation of tempting trays. As stories gradually intertwine characters are revealed by each other seemingly more so than by the author. • Before he sets it down, Steinbeck takes a thought and examines it from all angles. He kneads his thoughts like clay; when he is finished he presents them in delightful, original metaphor. In one memorable scene where three main characters, “Lee”, Adam Trask and Samuel Hamilton meet to name Adam’s motherless twins, Lee provokes illuminating and disturbing thoughts in Samuel’s mind to which Samuel protests, “Let me alone – let me think! Your damned bitch is having pups in my brain already. Oh, I wonder what my Tom will think of this! He’ll cradle it in the palm of his mind. He’ll turn it slow in his brain like a roast of pork before the fire.” I’ve read three other Steinbeck novels – “Of Mice and Men,” “The Short Reign of Pippin IV” and “Travels With Charley – In Search of America.” The different styles of these novels show amazing versatility. Steinbeck is a rare writer with whose body of work I am anxious to become even better acquainted. For what he has taught me in East of Eden about the art of writing I am indebted.

Report This Dec 29, 2010
  • cori_s rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A classic! I love all Steinbeck's work and East of Eden is one of his best.

Report This Dec 28, 2010
  • rstolzster rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Do the sins of parents weigh on the lives of their children? Of course they do, but that doesn't mean we must be defined by one's ancestry. East of Eden is as much about America as it is about the Trasks and Hamiltons. And the biblical themes are in turns haunting and inspiring. I hope I always remember the term "timshel", translated by Steinbeck's characters as "thou mayest."

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Report This Mar 12, 2011
  • angrytoast rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

angrytoast thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Report This Jul 14, 2011
  • haploU5 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This story takes place at the turn of century (1900) in Salinas, a mostly fertile valley in northern California. The story covers 2 families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, and their trials and tribulations as farming neighbours. While one is a large, happy family, the other is infected with pure evil. Filled with murder, betrayal, and cover-ups and told through unforgettable characters, makes this story truly exceptional. East of Eden will take you into the darkest corners of the human mind and at the same time show our capacity for great love and unselfishness. Steinbeck’s talent as an outstanding story teller shines through in this unforgettable saga. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.

Report This Jul 29, 2008
  • lilybelle rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A classic. Multi-generational epic about love, siblings and the battle of good and evil. Set in Salinas, California it is a retelling of the Book of Genesis


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Report This Apr 16, 2013
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe."

Socialism is just another form of religion, and thus delusional. John Steinbeck

Report This Oct 06, 2012
  • dera444 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.

Report This Sep 21, 2012
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.” ― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.

Report This Jul 29, 2008
  • lilybelle rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk."


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