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East of Eden

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  278,959 ratings  ·  11,907 reviews
This monumental novel sweeps from Connecticut to California, covers seven decades in the passionate lives of two turbulent American families. It is a novel of good and evil, lust and love, birth and death and life...

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Paperback, 534 pages
Published 1962 by Bantam Books (first published 1952)
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Car6l Snyder I don't believe the story is meant to sympathize with sin at all only to bring a greater understanding to the innocence and good intentions that often…moreI don't believe the story is meant to sympathize with sin at all only to bring a greater understanding to the innocence and good intentions that often spawn sin. I also don't believe that the book is making any sort of statement as to who can and cannot judge, only that we have been granted the great and awful task of making all of our own judgement calls. All the mistakes and triumphs we create are our own.(less)
Sophie Romero de torres If you loved the movie you should enjoy the book even more. I was highly disappointed by the movie that only tells.... the last part of the book !…moreIf you loved the movie you should enjoy the book even more. I was highly disappointed by the movie that only tells.... the last part of the book ! Steinbeck wrote about 400 pages before telling us about Aaron & Caleb adulthood. So YES, definitely, give the book a chance ! (less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 18, 2007 Frank rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any American lit fan
Shelves: to-reread
This book is mind blowing. It is John Steinbeck at his sharpest. He said that every author really only has one "book," and that all of his books leading up to East of Eden were just practice--Eden would be his book.

I could write a summary of the book, but it would be more trouble than it's worth. You will often hear it referred to as a "modern retelling of the Genesis story of Cain and Abel" but that is too simplistic. Steinbeck takes the story of Cain and Abel and makes Cain (in the form of Ca
I hate this book. Hate. Ponderous, pretentious, melodramatic, self-satisfied, patronizing to its readers, with ultimately nothing to say. Can be summarized thus: a bunch of people with no formal education whatsoever sit around discussing the time they read the Old Testament in Hebrew. They then tell us all how to live. Uh...right. I knew we were in trouble with the unbelievably lame introduction -- some forced, self-congratulatory metaphor about a box, if memory serves -- but it's hard to believ ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Kata
Shelves: fiction, 2012
I want to marry this book and have its babies. I can't remember the last time I felt such a deep sense of satisfaction after finishing a book. Every part of it was a delicious page turning delight. This was pretty close to perfection and it's up there as one of my top ten favorite books.

Steinbeck weaves his tale amongst gorgeously saturated descriptions of the Salinas valley, a truly beautiful part of the country. It's such a sweepingly epic and engrossing read which has everything a wonderful
Apr 04, 2008 Kristin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!!
I am on a golden roll of amazingly fantastic books!! East of Eden by John Steinbeck was our book club pick for this month. I almost didn't read it. You see, it's an old friend...and I ALMOST didn't re-read it... and that would have been tragic.

East of Eden is an epic story about good and evil. It tells the story of two families: the Trasks and the Hamiltons. It spans 3 generations and retells the Biblical story of Cain and Abel set in the Salinas Valley of Northern California.
Dec 04, 2007 Lucy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: favorites
I finished this last night and afterwards, I lay back on my pillow extremely satisfied just thinking about it. It's so rare that I read something that delights me from beginning to end. While there were a few turns on the journey that confused me and seemed to take the book in a different direction, his connecting all the characters, the stories and do it with profound meaning is nothing short of brilliant. And to do it through his own person history, and one of the oldest stories of the Bible o ...more
Henry Avila
Adam Trask was a weak but kindly boy , and later man, his father treated him quite badly, his jealous, sadistic, half- brother, younger but stronger, had hit him repeatedly , barely surviving one brutal, vicious fight. Born in the middle of the American Civil War, in a Connecticut farm, he and his brother Charles, are turned into good little soldiers, at a very tender age. Cyrus their father lost a leg, in the war, boasting of being in every major battle (which is physically impossible). In fact ...more

Before he started writing this novel, Steinbeck conceived of it as a gift for his sons. He wrote:
They are little boys now and they will never know what they came from through me, unless I tell them. It is not written for them to read now but when they are grown and the pains and joys have tousled them a little. And if the book is addressed to them, it is for good reason. I want them to know how it was, I want to tell them directly, and perhaps by speaking to them directly I shall speak directly
Dan Porter
My first encounter with Steinbeck was The Grapes of Wrath. I didn't enjoy the encounter. Had my first encounter been East of Eden, I most likely would have already read everything else he's written.

This is the the age-old story of the struggle between good and evil, but with an interesting twist. Steinbeck sees the coexistence of good and evil as necessary for the emergence of character or greatness. He lays the responsibility for that emergence squarely on the shoulders of the individual and sh
Feb 15, 2010 umang rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christians
Shelves: loathsome
This is a long, long sermon masquerading as a novel. Its aim seems clear- to be the great American novel. In spite of, or maybe because of this overreach, it is completely unsatisfying. The characters are mere symbols. Most of the themes pertain to the characters’ moral dilemmas, but it is difficult to be drawn into these since the characters lack any real complexity. The men are various superlatives (greatest, kindest, wisest). There are two women characters, one evil and exaggerated to the poi ...more
Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
East of Eden was a long, sprawling, sometimes slow, sometimes intense read. So often, Steinbeck's insightful comments on a person or a situation struck me deeply; he has a marvelous way with words. He also has a gift for writing complex and conflicted characters, though it's not always exercised fully, especially with some of his female characters. Abra, however, is a wonderful character, especially in her resistance to Aron's false idealization of her and her parents' focus on social position a ...more
Greg Heaney
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"I think this is the best-known story in the world because it is everybody's story. I think it is the symbol story of the human soul. ...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 large 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 that is the story of mankind."

Before this, my only exposure t
Huda Yahya

روح الإنسان
الشيء الجميل الفريد في هذا العالم
دائما ما تهاجم ولا تهزم أبدا

لي تاريخ قديم مع شتاينبك
وهو من أوائل من قرأتُ لهم بالإنجليزية

وقد أدمنته على الفور
تستطيع أن تقول أنه فهمني جيدا ففهمته جيدا
وأحببت حقا ما فهمت

هذه هي الرواية الأهم والأشهر
وإن لم تكن الأقرب لقلبي كما هي رواياته العظيمة الأخرى
اللؤلؤة،عناقيد الغضب،ورجال وفئران


جنة عدن
هي المكان الذي تبدأ منه كل الحكايات
كل ما هو قادم وكل ما هو كان
الخطوة الأولى في تاريخ الإنسانية
الخطيئة الأولى
الصراع الأول
"دم أخي لطخ يدي"

شرقي عدن -المكان
Parthiban Sekar

There is only one story which, from time immemorial, has been relentlessly reappearing in different forms, faces, and times and that is the never-ending battle between the Good and the Bad, the Gods and the Monsters, the Christ and the Satan, the Angels and the Demons, the crop-farmer and the shepherd, Folly and Wisdom, We and our alter-ego . Not always the Good wins. Not always the Bad loses. A victory gets replaced by a sliding defeat of same height and a defeat by a rising victory of same he
“No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.”

Let me start of by saying that this book in its entirety over the time has achieved an unyielding greatness that after having 'experienced' it, I stand in awe of the conspicuous wisdom that it incarnates. I say 'over the time' because it's a book about everything that we stand for (we, as in, we culpable and commendable, rejected and loved, thriving and thwarted, lucky and hapless humans). No, ac
Wow! I just don't know how to express the overwhelming power of this inspirational story! It is one of those novels that really isn't over when you finish reading it as it stays with you inside your head and heart forever. There is so much to ponder: Just a simple question like, "What am I here for?" or to feel the story of Cain and Abel come to life; and gosh, I don't think I will ever forget the meaning of the Hebrew word Timshel (thou mayest) a very important symbol in this book meaning we ha ...more
Back in high school, I was required to read Grapes of Wrath for summer reading. You know what's NOT fun for a moody teen during a scorching August heatwave? A depressing story about dry, parched earth and poor farmers toiling endlessly but still getting screwed.

And then there was my encounter with Of Mice and Men. Not with the book... but with the OPERA. Yet again, courtesy of my high school, trying to inculcate culture into our gum-snapping brains.
Just imagine: George, the mildly-retarded Lenn
“It was his first sharp experience with the rule that without money you cannot fight money.”

This is a beautiful but brutal story of sibling rivalry, parent-child relationships, and the inherent good and evil in each one of us. The novel spans two parallel storylines:
1) the three generations of the Trask family - Cyrus Trask, his sons Adam and Charles, and Adam's sons Aron and Caleb, through their eventful, changing, sometimes violent lives, sweeping from a farm in Connecticut to Steinbeck's
Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?' 'I don't know,' he replied. 'Am I my brother's keeper?'

In the famed Biblical tale of Cain and Abel, the two brothers both make an offering to God. God likes Abel's offer, but not Cain's; out of jealousy, Cain slays Abel, and then is marked by God.

East of Eden is John Steinbeck's rather lengthy ode to that story. It follows two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. It's the Trask family, though, that represents Cain and Abel, with two s
Although I do like Steinbeck’s strong, simple style of writing, this book let me down. With this book Steinbeck is delivering a message to his readers. I do agree with the message imparted, but I dislike that it is pounded into us. It isn’t enough to draw the story of Cain and Abel in one generation of a family, but Steinbeck repeats the story in the next generation of the family too. The message becomes a rant. God blessed Cain with freewill. That is the message, and it is up to us to choose wh ...more
You can't take it with you when you go. That's how the saying goes. Whether you do or do not believe in an afterlife it doesn't matter, I just want you to mull on something for a moment. Some religions and cultures believe you can and must have things in the after life (money, food, protection from evil spirits, etc.) If I could take objects with me when I go, books would be my singular necessity. East of Eden being a must-have to nourish my eternal soul.

East of Eden is a classic, dense in quot
Aug 08, 2007 Meghan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 16 years of age or older
So, I'm going to take a stab at this...before I get too busy and before I forget what I've read -- and thought. (I've already moved on to another book...;-)

Overall, I thought this was a masterful piece of work - and realized this on the first page. I've glimpsed around a little bit on the internet and know that J.S. has received some criticism for this book (along with praise, too), but I didn't look too closely because I wanted my thoughts to be my own. I definitely saw/heard some pretty laudat
i been lovin' on this book REAL hard. don't know how else to put it, really. too many different directions for praise. i adore the characters in this story, even the chillingly evil ones. and i love the short little chapters that steinbeck just shoved in every once in a while in order to assert his musings on the state of america. or writers. or war. or life. here's probably my favorite chapter in the whole book--it's one of the few random times Steinbeck writes in second person:

"You can see how
Diane D.
5* isn't enough! John Steinbeck is the master of story weaving and creator of some of the most memorable characters! And he writes in such a way that the simplest of sentences can pack so much emotion, it's amazing to me. 601 pages and I'm left wanting more.

There are characters I loved and characters I loathed, and I think that everyone who has read this book would agree. Yet even the hardest and most evil of all can reach a breaking point (view spoiler)
I read The Grapes of Wrath about eight months ago, to be honest I was a little disappointed in it because I expected to like it more than I did on the basis of its reputation and because I love Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men which I read previous to that. For some reason The Grapes of Wrath just did not resonate with me, one of those inexplicable things that can not be explained I think. East of Eden is an entirely different matter, it clicked with me all over the place and already found a place in ...more
Nathan Rostron
A friend recommended this book to me as Steinbeck's best, and as a somewhat reluctant Steinbeck reader in the first place (I'd read Of Mice and Men in high school), I wasn't ecstatic to begin reading it--as I did at said friend's insistence. I will admit to a certain prideful stoicism in doing so--I felt like I was doing something supposedly "good for me," like avoiding trans fat or reading Beckett. But as I read I discovered that I liked it--Steinbeck had written an expansive, multigenerational ...more
La visione biblica del mondo di Steinbeck non è fosca e sanguinante come quella di Faulkner, è assolutamente armoniosa e pacificatrice. L’avevo capito leggendo Vicolo Cannery e Furore; ne La valle dell’Eden la definitiva conferma, a partire dal titolo.
A differenza che in Furore, in cui tema prevalente è la questione sociale, al centro de La valle dell’Eden ci sono i legami familiari ed i sentimenti che legano padri e figli, sulla falsariga di una storia che sempre si ripete, quella di Caino e Ab
John Steinbeck conceived East of Eden as a gift to his two young sons - Thomas and John. I am choosing to write this book to my sons, he wrote to his friend and editor, Pascal Covici, They are little boys now and they will never know what they came from through me, unless I tell them. It is not written for them to read now but when they are grown and the pains and joys have tousled them a little. And if the book is addressed to them, it is for a good reason. I want them to know how it was, I wan ...more
This is the kind of book that made me realize why I need Goodreads, and why I wanted to be active on the site again.

Reading East of Eden, I had so many thoughts and so many feeeeeeelings and I had nowhere to put them, except scribbled pages in notebooks and texts to my friend who I borrowed it from and loving in it that way that I went around to everyone I knew, and told everyone who saw me reading it, that they really needed to pick it up because it's "just so good." I wasn't able to put it mo
I must depend on hearsay, on old photographs, on stories told, and on memories which are hazy and mixed with fable …
John Steinbeck East of Eden


References are given in the form (page/chapter), the page number being that of the Penguin Steinbeck Centennial Edition of 2002. For example, the above quote is at (8/2). A chapter shown as “26[2]” means the second section of chapter 26. The first section of that chapter is shown as simply “26”.

Any quotes without a reference should be close to th
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
More about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath The Pearl Cannery Row Travels with Charley: In Search of America

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“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.” 2726 likes
“All great and precious things are lonely.” 2391 likes
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