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East of Eden

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  489,809 ratings  ·  24,535 reviews
In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. 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 A ...more
Paperback, Steinbeck Centennial Edition (US / CAN), 601 pages
Published 2002 by Penguin 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)
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)

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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  489,809 ratings  ·  24,535 reviews

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Emily May
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, 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 fa
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 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
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
I bet this book will change how you see humanity and how you think about good and evil. If you are a father, or a son, or especially a father of sons, then I imagine this story will be so full of truth it will shake you to your core and leave you lying nervously in bed at night, praying for your children. Praying perhaps for yourself.

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

welcome to...(MAY)ST OF EDEN!!

this might sound like my month/title puns are getting worse and worse, but wait until we get to the reveal on this one.

by being excited i have definitely cursed myself into forgetting to do it.

every month, elle and i read an intimidating classic in a couple chapters a day all month long. MIDDLEMARCH MARCH was a raging success, but TENANT OF WILDAPRIL HALL sucked hard.

to heal ourselves, we're revisiting a book we know we love. we're also doing it with our book club!

Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very easy for me to rate this book 5 stars. It is amazing. There is so much in it and it is not hard to read. It just tells it like it is and does it so well.

It is like a high priced, high quality buffet with lots of different stations. At each of those stations is a main table with an awesome featured food (thick cut prime rib, chocolate fondue fountain, Mongolian BBQ bowl, etc.). In layman's terms, there is SO MUCH awesome story here with a HUGE payoff every 50 pages or so. I am very satisfied
Jul 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
steinbeck said that everything he wrote prior to this book was just practice.

which means everything i have read prior to this book was also practice, familiarising myself with stories about humanity, until i could fully appreciate just how perfectly this encapsulates human nature and everything that comes with it.

the good. the evil. the freedom of choice. the resulting consequences. the loneliness. the beauty.

there are so many inspired nuggets of wisdom nestled into this deeply intimate story
Vit Babenco
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most appropriate epithets that apply to this novel is ‘monumental’. Indeed East of Eden stands as a monument to the entire epoch and those people that lived in those troubled days. This is a chronicle of generations – of parents and children.
When a child first catches adults out – when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just – his world falls into panic de
I have no words to describe what this novel did to my reading self!

It was my first Steinbeck, and it made me fall in love with his writing, his ideas, his cry for individual freedom and social justice. It made me ache for goodness in a world of evil, and it made me respect the power of storytelling to explain the inexplicable difficulties of family life.

It was the first time I felt scared of a fictional character!

I don't think I have ever been so deeply shaken as by Cathy/Kate, and she remai
Ahmad Sharabiani
East of Eden, John Steinbeck

East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952.

The story is primarily set in the Salinas Valley, California, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of World War I, though some chapters are set in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and the story goes as far back as the American Civil War.

In the beginning of East of Eden, before introducing his characters, Steinbeck carefully establishes the setting with a desc
Henry Avila
Apr 12, 2013 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 private was ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Steinbeck's classic East of Eden is a masterpiece and one of his finest books. It tells the history of Steinbeck's own family, the Hamiltons, and that of the Trask family. The epic is set in Steinbeck's native Salinas Valley in California and the beauty of the region is described in endless, passionate detail.
The characters are all beautifully drawn and the story is captivating.

I'll add some quotes here before returning the book to the library, but it was extremely pleasurable to read cover to
Luca Ambrosino
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
English (East of Eden) / Italiano

«The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay»

"East of Eden" is a powerful novel, thick with biblical reference, in which the characters seem real and not fictional, protagonists of a generational saga about good and evil. About pure hatrded and unconditional love. You will love all the characters of the novel,

Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
An amazing book! East of Eden, a 1952 novel by John Steinbeck, is a long, sprawling, sometimes slow but often very intense read. Steinbeck considered it his magnum opus. It begins at the turn of the century in Connecticut, telling about the difficult childhood of Adam Trask and the pains and troubles caused him by his half-brother Charles. Adam meets and marries Cathy Ames, whom he blindly loves, but who is a truly evil, completely self-centered woman at heart.

They move out to the Salinas Valle
Feb 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apologies, but I will need some more time to write a review, due to my personal circumstances.

"You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast."

"Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man."
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm ashamed that it took me four months to write up this review, but I just couldn't find the right words to describe how I feel about this phenomenal book. Because it was absolute perfection!

I did watch the movie adaption first (ages ago) and loved it, and it has a very special place in my heart because it started off my obsession with James Dean (who I now call my favorite person of all time, so yeah, it's a pretty big deal to me). I've been wanting to read the book ever since, but I was a bit
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
“The quick pain of truth can pass away, but the slow, eating agony of a lie is never lost.”

Like the Book of Genesis, where it pulls its inspiration from, “East of Eden” is the story of us. The good and the bad, and our struggle to be ruled by one or the other, acknowledging that both are inherent in our natures. It is a beautiful book filled with people I felt strongly about, and all of them so fully and wonderfully human.
Steinbeck continues to impress me with his ability to create a complete ch
Adam Dalva
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A magic book, an everything book, both like and unlike everything else Steinbeck wrote. I can never quite manage to stop reading it - the naming scene and the ending are about as good as writing can get.
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Alright friends, here's the dealio.

When I read this book, lots of things in my personal life were a hectic. When I finished this book, things were still hectic. I'm writing this now, and things are still a little hectic, but slowly they are leveling out (so no worries.)

The thing is, because of all that hectic, I did not document my thoughts about this book the way I normally would do. I also made the fatal mistake of waiting far too long to sit down & write my review upon finishing.

Usually, if
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dan | The Ancient Reader
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
Jan 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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
Micah Cummins
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted shortcuts to love...We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."

- John Stei
Julie G ("Doctor, my eyes!"  Offline for a week)
Consider this not a review, but rather a love letter. A love letter to John Steinbeck, to return the love he expresses over and over again to this big, sweaty heap we call humanity.

Dear John,
Thanks for loving us, despite having the ability to turn over all of the rocks and finding our lowest common denominators there, squirming in the mud. I love you, I hate you; your writing makes me cry hot, jealous tears.
Despite your struggles to love God, I want you to know. . . he certainly loved you. No ma
Elyse Walters
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
So FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Helene Jeppesen
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this first when I was at university and I loved it.
I read this again now as a 30-year-old avid reader who has become much more critical when it comes to books.
I’m happy to say that while this was a bumpy revisit, “East of Eden” remains one of my favourite books!
This novel is about inheritage and how hard it sometimes is to develop away from your inheritage. What makes you good? What makes you bad? And do some of us contain more of one or the other? Those are some of the questions that C
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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

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