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East of Eden

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  321,169 Ratings  ·  13,679 Reviews
John Steinbeck. East of Eden. New York: Viking Press, 1952. First edition, first printing. Octavo. 602 pages.

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 reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry
Hardcover, First Edition, 602 pages
Published 1952 by New York: Viking Press
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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)
Cobwebsandglitter This is one of my favorite books. The plot is so intricate and the story brilliantly interwoven. Through the very well developed characters different…moreThis is one of my favorite books. The plot is so intricate and the story brilliantly interwoven. Through the very well developed characters different emotions (love, depravity, hatred etc) are explored with direct parallels to the Old Testament. Loved this book. Would never ruin it by watching the movie ;) (less)

Community Reviews

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Emily May
Jul 27, 2016 Emily May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favourites, 2016
“All great and precious things are lonely.”

Such an amazing book. An instant all time favourite.

I'm sure you've heard of this book. Often touted as one of the "greatest novels of all time" or "books you must read before you die". For some reason, I've been putting it off. Maybe because I was made to study Of Mice and Men to death in school, or maybe because I thought The Grapes of Wrath was a little overrated. But I've been missing out.

A closer look should have told me that. Because I love fami
Mar 23, 2016 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any American lit fan
Shelves: to-reread, favorites
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
Aug 10, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Sep 13, 2010 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, overrated
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
Sep 12, 2016 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thou mayest
East of Eden is a uniquely fragmented hotchpotch. A fantastical fable, a retelling of the biblical tale of the original sin, a documented testimony of early settlers in the Salinas Valley through the perspective of three generations, a fictionalized biography of Steinbeck’s own grandfather, a subversive political text, an essay that blends modern philosophy with ancient wisdom.
It’s probable that Steinbeck’s ambitious scope and his need to reach universal meaning might encumber the narration with
Apr 04, 2008 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  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 it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 26, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
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
Henry Avila
Jan 07, 2017 Henry Avila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adam Trask was a weak but kind boy , and later man, his father treated him quite badly, even his jealous, sadistic, half- brother, younger but stronger, hit him repeatedly , barely surviving one brutal, vicious fight. Born in the middle of the American Civil War, in a Connecticut farm, he and 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, the ...more
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 ال
Oct 21, 2016 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics
"And now that you don't have to be perfect you can be good."

This book is one of the masterpieces of literature. A story that will stand the test of time, with vivid, unforgettable characters that will haunt you long after you've closed the book. East of Eden is the story of life. It's a story about brotherhood, jealousy, anger, pain, love, evil, sacrifice, redemption. It's one of those books you want to thrust into the hands of your friends, family, neighbors, peers and shout, "Read this, it's g
Oct 04, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 07, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Brian Yahn
Apr 07, 2016 Brian Yahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parts of this book are god-like. At different stages in the beginning, middle, and end, I burnt through pages like this was some sort of mystery-thriller, but obviously with all the depth of Steinbeck...

Then there's the characters, which here are some of the best. Cal's struggle--to be good when he's so compelled to be bad--is one of the more interesting ones I've come across. Kate is a perfectly written evil bitch and every time she pops onto the page, you can't wait to see what she'll do next.
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
Aug 28, 2016 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
. Book club re-read. Even better second time around.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck is a wonderful read.

I believe that Steinbeck wrote this book for his sons Thorn and John who were just small boys when it was written. Steinbeck hoped that as they grew up the novel would show them their roots in California’s Salinas Valley and guide them through their lives . What a wonderful book with just about all the elements a good story needs, we have father son relationships, and sibling rivalry, murder,
Nov 05, 2011 Madeline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
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
Oct 31, 2015 umang rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2016 Shelby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This book had been on my bookshelf since I bought it used for a few dollars many months ago. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up, but this story was one that will stay with me for a long time. It is really a timeless story of the father-son relationship; it is universal to desire acceptance, both from one's family and others in the world. We all want to belong, even if we're not really sure where we fit in or what it is exactly we are trying to belong to. East of Eden mirrors the bi ...more
Greg Heaney
Aug 04, 2008 Greg Heaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2015 Himanshu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Jul 20, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics
This is my new favorite book ever - number one. Steinbeck's modest writing style is deceptively simple, but in its succinctness he captures people and life with an acute poignancy. I'm amazed at the people he managed to create within these pages, all with their flaws and graces, all believable and sympathetic. I will enjoy reading this again and again and know I will one day have to replace my copy after it falls apart from lovely overuse!
Nov 08, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 i ...more
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
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
Aug 06, 2016 Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amados-libros
Fertile, Colorful Biblical Tale of Flawed Humanity
Most Demonic Human Female I Can Recall in Lit
East of Eden, Steinbeck's apex of awe-inspiring talents, is his story based loosely on the tale of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel. I cannot think of any more morally-corrupt, evil female in the entire canon of Western Literature than Cathy Ames.

Outer Cathy Ames

The Inner Cathy Ames

Incredibly, I've seen negative ratings given this book on other sites because Steinbeck painted a woman so grossly. Huh? What b
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

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

If on a winter's night ... you've got nothing better to do, you might waste a lot of time by dipping into all the spoilers and linked pieces of this.


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]”
Jul 05, 2015 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, usa, hf, downpour, alt, classics
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
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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...

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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.” 2973 likes
“All great and precious things are lonely.” 2808 likes
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