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East of Eden (1952)

by John Steinbeck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,602372156 (4.39)1 / 869
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.
  1. 160
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  2. 60
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
  3. 40
    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (5hrdrive)
    5hrdrive: epic western novel with similar voice
  4. 30
    Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (sushidog)
    sushidog: Epic family novels
  5. 30
    Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (cometahalley, cometahalley)
  6. 20
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (cometahalley)
  7. 20
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (cometahalley)
  8. 20
    Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey (weener)
    weener: An epic, fascinating family drama.
  9. 10
    The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz (paulkid)
    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.
  10. 00
    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)
  11. 00
    Años Inolvidables by John Dos Passos (cometahalley)
  12. 00
    The Notebook; The Proof; The Third Lie by Ágota Kristóf (UrliMancati)
  13. 02
    Abel Sánchez by Miguel de Unamuno (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: The story of Cain and Abel reimagined in a more modern setting
1950s (14)
To Read (140)

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» See also 869 mentions

English (352)  French (3)  German (3)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (370)
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Austan Eden eftir John Steinbeck er eftirminnileg saga. Sérstaklega fyrir persónusköpun Steinbecks en einnig fyrir forlögin sem persónunum eru sköpuð. Steinbeck vísar ítrekað til sögunnar um Kain og Abel í Biblíunni og lesendurnir eru stöðugt efins um hvort sögupersónur Steinbecks séu bundnir af örlögum bræðranna í Biblíunni eða hvort þeir öðlist frelsi undan grimmum forlögunum.
Sagan snýst um tvær fjölskyldur sem setjast að á svipuðu svæði, ólík örlög ættfeðranna og afkomendanna og tengsl fjölskyldnanna. Persónurnar eru málaðar nokkuð svart-hvítar, þ.e.a.s. illar, góðar, dómharðar, trúaðar skoðanir eru afgerandi einkenni sumra þeirra. Fyrir vikið verða samskipti þeirra enn kröftugri
Ég áttaði mig ekki alveg á því hvort Steinbeck, sem skrifaði bókina með skýrri tilvísun til aldingarðarins Eden og samskipti Evu og Adams, lét konur vera gagngert illa aflið í sögunni vegna þessarar sköpunarsögu Biblíunnar eða hvort ástæðan er honum persónulegri og jafnvel ómeðvituð. Til þess þekki ég hann bara ekki nógu vel sem rithöfund en sagan var það ánægjuleg að ég mun lesa meira eftir hann síðar. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
Best read of the year! ( )
  tcbowen87 | Jan 27, 2022 |
Here's what I wrote after reading in 1987: "Another good one. Story uses a New England and then Californian setting and a cast of characters that includes the monstrous Cathy, the simply honest Adam Trask, the wise and loving Chinaman, Lee, and the eternally optimistic Sam Hamilton. These characters help Steinbeck illustrate man's struggle between good and evil and man's ability triumph over evil. "Thou mayest. . . choose (his) course and fight through and win "TIMSHEL"." Cain and Abel story of course. ( )
  MGADMJK | Jan 27, 2022 |
An epic tale in northern California of ignorant, racist, men and women. Steinbeck’s characters are unlikable, intolerable, and weak. However his descriptions of the valley and surrounding area are magnificent. ( )
  caanderson | Jan 23, 2022 |
✍️ Not a review per se – just some notes and observations.

⚠️ TW: racism, misogyny, violence, rape,

🏞 Steinbeck definitely put Salinas Valley on the map!lol

This books encompasses so many different themes to include evil vs. good, human nature, nurture vs. nature, familial attachments (or detachments), and whether we all carry a monstrous part of ourselves inside, and some are just better than others at controlling it and/or hiding it. What, exactly, keeps us from crossing certain boundaries? Love? God? Fear? All of it? None of it?

There is a section that struck me, which is also at the core of the central theme in terms of fathers (God) rejecting what their sons have to offer, consequences therein, and the concept of free will: “The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a larger or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt – and there is the story of mankind. I think that if rejection could be amputated, the human would not be what he is.”

Cain felt rejected and struck his brother and the history repeats itself.

📌- Elephant in the room: Racism – When an author uses the vernacular of bigotry, racism, intolerance, whether through fictional characters or as a narrator, it is jarring and difficult to reconcile through our modern lens or context. When he referred to Native Americans as an “inferior race” in the beginning, it jolted me. When he later used direct racial slurs it was quite impactful and uncomfortable. This book exemplifies some of the attitudes towards other races/ethnicities (and women for that matter) of its time, which are offensive and hurtful (and have not gone away). But man, it is also chockfull of information our minds and souls can sink its teeth into…a lot to unpack and digest (preferably slowly!lol) in terms of the complexity of human nature, free will, and good vs. evil. What I’m trying to say is that if you think you can get past these occasional slurs (by the way, by my count it was a handful so it’s not like Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, which can be extremely triggering for some readers) to get to the meat of the book, it will be worth it. But if you can’t, that it totally ok and now you know.
- Point of view: there was a shift at some point to first person and I did not catch it!lol I was reading alone and then …who’s this?lol
- 🐎 Horse’s name: Doxology! I *need* someone to name their horse, pony…maybe a dog that looks like a horse..this and tell me!lol

- 📖 New word to my lexicon: “Day-Lazy” – Can’t wait to use it!lol

❤️ Some quotes I liked:

“to a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself…To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”
“When our food and clothing and housing are all born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.”
“You see what is, where most people see what they expect.”
“It is easy to say she was bad, but there is little meaning unless we know why.”
“And the books that came into the house, some of them secretly – well, Samuel rode lightly on top of a book and he balanced happily among ideas the way a man rides white rapids in a canoe. But Tom got into a book, crawled and groveled between the covers, tunneled like a mole among the thoughts, and came up with the book all over his face and hands.”
“She watched his great red happiness, and it was not light as Samuel’s happiness was light. It did not rise out of his roots and come floating up. He was manufacturing happiness as cleverly as he knew how, molding it and shaping it.”
“Humans are caught – in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too – in a net of good and evil.”
“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are build on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly re-spawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal.”
“All great and precious things are lonely.”
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
“No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us. What a great burden of guilt men have!”
---“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.”
  Eosch1 | Jan 2, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionscalculated
Artadi, Vicente deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Angelis, GiulioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggink, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kahn, HarryTranslatorsecondary 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.


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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.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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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.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185074, 0241952492

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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