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East of Eden
East of Eden
Author: John Steinbeck
In his journal, 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 - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenac...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780142004234
ISBN-10: 0142004235
Publication Date: 6/18/2003
Pages: 608
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 451 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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rubuhroom avatar reviewed East of Eden on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I grew up knowing about John Steinbeck and his book The Grapes of Wrath as I am a daughter of an Okie (my father) and was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, just south of the Salinas Valley where East of Eden takes place. The movie, The Grapes of Wrath was filmed near Bakersfield where I lived for 30 years so that bit of trivia was always coming up in the media or newspapers. So I keep asking myself why did I never read Steinbeck? I loved the movies that were made and I've always known that any book you read is much better than the movie. East of Eden is one of the rare books I give a 5-star rating to. The story, being historical and dating back to the late 1800's, could have taken place in 2009. If references to mode of transportation, communication, and architecture were missing from the book the charachters could be your next door neighbor today. This book was wonderful with so many unique characters and the Cain and Abel aspect, and gives you pause to examine your own angels and demons. It's a big book but I read it in just a few days because I did not want to put it down. Off to another Steinbeck!
scrapbooklady avatar reviewed East of Eden on + 472 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I read "East of Eden" over 30 years ago, and loved it. Now that I'm retired and have more time, I reread it and was not disappointed. What an epic, probably the best Steinbeck of them all. This book has many layers to it, so I think it is readable at all ages. While, I enjoyed it at 25, it was even better now!!
reviewed East of Eden on
Helpful Score: 4
Long, long, ultra long! You can't deny the artistry of the writing, but this family was just too dysfunctional and cruel. Difficult to read.
laurieindra avatar reviewed East of Eden on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Simply the best book I've ever read. A big family saga, but so much more. Philosophy, religion, the American dream and so much more about small town life in 20th century California. All wrapped up in a retelling of the story of Adam and Eve. Plus just beautiful writing. I've read it at least three times and will read it again.
reviewed East of Eden on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Read like it could have been written today - timeless and fantastic!
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reviewed East of Eden on + 17 more book reviews
An epic novel set in the Salinas Valley of California written in 1952,
which traces the sometimes-intertwined lives of the Trask family and the Hamilton families. The Hamilton side was based on Steinbeck's family. The Trask side is an allegory based on the biblical story of Adam and Eve and their sons. Adam Trask's two sons, Cal and Aaron are loosely reminiscent of Cain and Abel.

The character study is stellar. Individuals struggle with good and evil within themselves and most grow as a result. "I have wondered why it is that some people are less affected and torn by the verities of life and death than other's." The intricacies of the relationships and the mesmirizing affect of one person on the other is masterful.

No wonder Steinbeck considered this his masterpiece.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

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