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East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden (original 1952; edition 2003)

by John Steinbeck

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,602257137 (4.41)1 / 700
Title:East of Eden
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2003), Paperback, 608 pages
Collections:Uncollected, Your library
Tags:fiction, 20th century, early

Work details

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)

  1. 140
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  2. 50
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
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  5. 20
    A Journey into Steinbeck's California by Susan Shillinglaw (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Fascinating coffee table book, lavishly illustrated with photos and maps, well-written too. Sort of Steinbeck's "Californian" biography, though it also covers his living in New York and travels to Mexico. Plenty of interesting real-life background of "East of Eden" and many of his other works. Compelling insight into Steinbeck's personality.… (more)
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    paulkid: These books are fathers-and-sons family epics that are set around the turn of the (20th) century. They both have philosophical and coming-of-age themes as well.
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English (244)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (254)
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
I liked this book a lot. I haven't read a lot of American literature (or literature in general), and so I'm not entirely sure why I like this book as much as I do or even why it is such a classic, but I do like it and it is a classic. I think it is a classic for the same reason that I liked many parts of it. It makes you feel better about yourself. It shows that just because you make mistakes, even bad ones, it doesn't mean you are a bad person; you can still choose to be better. I guess that's a pretty good reason to be a classic. ( )
  JaredChristopherson | Nov 16, 2015 |
What a book this is. An absorbing, multigenerational family saga of the Hamiltons and the Trasks. A biblical allegory based on Cain and Abel. A portrait of America transforming from a rural to an industrial society. The crushing inevitability of destiny versus the exercise of free will. It's a brilliant read with fantastic characters. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Nov 7, 2015 |
Discussed on the A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, Episode 15.

http://agoodstoryishardtofind.blogspot.com/2011/07/good-story-015-east-of-eden.h... ( )
  ScottDDanielson | Oct 15, 2015 |
@east_eden +school
  Lorem | Oct 2, 2015 |
Great book! The writing is superb. I agree with some reviewers who think some of the characters were too one-dimensional; and with those who think he made his point about the nature of good and evil too forcefully. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would have been a problem. But, Mr. Steinbeck has written an amazing family saga that I will probably read again. ( )
  LynnB | Oct 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
Novelist Steinbeck has done some of his best writing in East of Eden. As always, he describes his Salinas Valley with fidelity and charm. Moreover, individual scenes and yarns are frequently turned with great skill. But whether as a novel about pioneers in a new country or just men & women working out their private, earthly fates, East of Eden is too blundering and ill-defined to make its story point. That point, says Steinbeck, is "the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil." East of Eden has over-generous portions of both, but a novelist who knows what he wants channels them, he doesn't spill them.
added by Shortride | editTime (Sep 22, 1952)
Probably the best of John Steinbeck's novels... ["East of Eden's"] dramatic center is a narrow story of social horror that rests quite disarmingly on the proposition that "there are monsters born in the world to human parents." But through the exercise of a really rather remarkable freedom of his rights as a novelist, Mr. Steinbeck weaves in, and more particularly around, this story of prostitution a fantasia of history and of myth that results in a strange and original work of art.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times Book Review, Mark Schorer (pay site) (Sep 21, 1952)
A fine, lusty sense of life is here, a delight in the spectacle of men and women struggling in the age-old ways to meet their separate destines, and an abundance of good story-telling... John Steinbeck has grown in his respect for his fellow human beings, in his understanding of them. He has reached mature and thoughtful conclusions about them. And he has expressed his conclusions in interesting and thought-provoking fashion.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Orville Prescott (pay site) (Sep 19, 1952)

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eggink, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linturi, JoukoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poe, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Pascal Covici

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 graditude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full.


First words
The Salinas Valley is in Northern California.
You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.
I don't very much believe in blood. I think when a man finds good or bad in his children he is seeing only what he planted in them after they cleared the womb. - Samuel Hamilton
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 idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
East of Eden was written by John Steinbeck, not Ernest Hemingway.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142000655, Paperback)

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. The biblical account of Cain and Abel is echoed in the history of two generations of the Trask family in California.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:57 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families--the Trasks and the Hamiltons--whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185074, 0241952492

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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