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East of Eden [Paperback]

John Steinbeck
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (337 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 26 2012 0241952492 978-0241952498
'Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man'. California's fertile Salinas Valley is home to two families whose destinies are fruitfully, and fatally, intertwined. Over the generations, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of the First World War, the Trasks and the Hamiltons will helplessly replay the fall of Adam and Eve and the murderous rivalry of Cain and Abel. "East of Eden" was considered by Steinbeck to be his magnum opus, and its epic scope and memorable characters, exploring universal themes of love and identity, ensure it remains one of America's most enduring novels.

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Product Description

Review

A fantasia of history and myth The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck is remembered as one of the greatest and best-loved American writers of the twentieth century. His complete works are published by Penguin.

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The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
->While it is often said that quality is much more important than quantity, there are times in which you can slap the two together to get a surprisingly good result. Such is the case with John Steinbeck's immense novel, East Of Eden. Although famous for his earlier novel Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck considered East of Eden his more important, life-long work for him. "I've been practicing for a book for 35 years, and this is it. There is only one book to a man," he said to his publisher when he completed the novel in 1952. Indeed, this novel is a truly a culminative work of Steinbeck's
->The story is tragedy, with rays of hope strewn throughout it and a moral lesson behind it. It is about the intertwining destinies of two sets of people in the Salinas Valley: the gregarious and emotionally diverse Hamilton family and the passionate, moody Trask clan. The book centers many of its themes around biblical references, such as the fall of Adam and Eve, and the deadly rivalry between Cain and Able. The importance of individual identity, and the consequences of blind love are also discussed.
->The book is a example of great story telling. Steinbeck had a natural flow of language that the reader can relate to and uses practical, to-the-point diction to easily communicate his story. The progress of the Trask family's development from zealous and impulsive into contemplative and vigilant is fascinating to watch. Steinbeck makes you either love his characters or loathe them, depending on whom he's talking about. There's something about his writing that compels you to read on to the next chapter to learn what new tragedy or jubilance will afflict the character next. It is simply a book that you won't put down; that is, until you realize how much time has gone by.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all-time top ten, wise, humane, beautiful Feb. 24 2009
Format:Paperback
An all time fave. Why? Because there is next to no ego in the last book John Steinbeck ever wrote. You finish "East of Eden" and you remember the characters not the writer. You remember Lee, who is so selfless and good and wise; you remember the two sets of brothers, Adam and Charles, and Cal and Aron; and with a series of spinal shudders you find you cannot forget Cathy (or Catherine) who has to go down as one of the most sinister - and interesting - characters in all fiction.

No tricks, no overly clever plot-twists or wordplays, this is just a straight-ahead, old-fashioned, fascinating story about the greatest biblical theme of them all: people's struggle with good and evil. But that's not all. It's so much more than that. [Ok, nerdy confession time:] I drew up a list of all the great themes "East of Eden" covers but have since scrapped it because Steinbeck does precisely that in the book's appropriately humble epigraph, delivered as a simple letter to a dear friend:

"Dear Pat,
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, 'Why don't you make something for me?'
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, 'A box.'
'What for?'
'To put things in.'
'What things?'
'Whatever you have,' you said.
Well, here's your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts - the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still the box is not full.
John"

What more need be said?

-Probably Because I Have To
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic With Entertainment Value Aug. 12 2003
By edzaf
Format:Paperback
If Oprah Winfrey was looking to get the American public (and perhaps even the world) interested in reading "classic" literature she could have not chosen a better selection than John Steinbeck's "East of Eden." This is certainly not the "tamer" Steinbeck that I read in high school English class. While we may not even think twice about it today, "Eden" must have been simply scandalous when it was originally published in 1952 with murder, prostitution, and adultery just some of the more "adult" issues explored in this epic novel.
Despite its intimidating length, "East" moves along quickly as we follow the life of Adam Trask - from his East Coast childhood and troubled relationship with his brother to businessman and father of two sons with equally complex relations of their own. As the title suggests, the book is a modern retelling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel story. As with most of the "classics," the novel is rife with topics and themes to deeply delve into and discuss with your book club. My only criticisms are that the "good vs. evil" angle gets a bit heavy-handed at times and, for me, the novel loses some steam in the final quarter - but these are certainly not enough to not heartily recommend the work.
The nice thing about "Eden" is if you choose not to take the "literary" route, you can still be simply entertained and enthralled by Steinbeck's plot and characters. There is enough suspense and intrigue that make it not terribly different from many of today's bestsellers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TIMSHEL - ching chong March 26 2003
Format:Paperback
What an incredibly written novel portraying the Biblical story of Cain and Abel! I have never come across a book this great. Steinbeck did a marvelous job in putting his thoughts and themes together throughout the book. Each characters is very well defined and each symbolizes either the good or the evil. Thimsel- "thou mayest" is a Hebrew word that means "GOD has given humans the choice to overcome their sins". This phrase means a great deal to the novel and in fact, it is the core idea of the novel. A person might inherit characterstics of his predecessors, but he is the one who has the ability choose whether to follow though it or to stand up on his own conscience.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I think it might be one I got a few ...
I think it might be one I got a few years ago but cannot find, I will know once I start reading it again, I will know for sure.
Published 6 days ago by frances poirier
5.0 out of 5 stars Every person should read this - doesn't matter who your favorite...
Every person should read this - doesn't matter who your favorite authors are, you will like this. And it should be a graduation present for every kid coming out of high school if... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Brett Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Ever Non-Business Type Book. It was Amazing.
This is the first thing I've ever read that is not science, psychology, business, etc. and I absolutely couldn't put it down. I read the entire book in two giant power sessions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alex Drysdale
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story
I'm still reading this book and thoroughly enjoying the story. It took me awhile to get use to John Steinbeck's style of writing but he's up there with my favourites now.
Published 14 months ago by Gary Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars LATE LATE LATE
I ordered the book to be delivered between March 22-29 as I was moving by April 7th. The book never arrived. Read more
Published on April 11 2011 by Brianna
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect kind of read
This book was amazing. With so many other reviews out there, there is doubtful anything I can add that is new but I felt I had to write a review because I loved this story so much. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2011 by Kirstie
5.0 out of 5 stars `All great and precious things are lonely.'
East of Eden is primarily set in the Salinas Valley, California in the time period between 1900 and 1918. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2010 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars More 'guilty pleasure' than literary classic, but a very good novel...
Critics of this novel will tell you that it's a heavy-handed, melodramatic, bloated example of literary self indulgence; and frankly these are valid complaints. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2009 by J. Norburn
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite forever
East of Eden is a fantastic novel. It is absolutely timeless and just sucks you into it's world. The characters, scenarios, and lessons illustrated in the book really speak to the... Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2009 by Arisa Goldstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Trask family on display
Faulkner once wrote that the only thing worth writing about was the conflict within the human heart. Enter EAST OF EDEN, Steinbeck's best work. Read more
Published on March 22 2007 by Faulkner Man
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