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Book Buddy ! > East of Eden ~ John Steinbeck

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message 1: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments by madrano

Anyone interested in joining a couple of us in reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck next month? We are going to start discussion September 25 & will have a thread for that purpose. Two of us are already committed to reading the book. We'd love to have others join in!

message 2: by Sherry (sethurner) (last edited Aug 17, 2010 06:15PM) (new)

Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) East of Eden was the first book I read this year. Enjoy!

message 3: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 17, 2010 07:23PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments Book: East of Eden by John Steinbeck East of Eden

Author: John Steinbeck

What: This is a Buddy Read. An informal book discussion.

Discussion begins September 25, 2010

Where: In this thread.

Spoiler Etiquette: Please put chapter # and spoiler warning at top of your post.

Book Details:

Paperback: 601 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); CENTENNIAL EDITION edition (February 5, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0142000655
ISBN-13: 978-0142000656
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches

Novel by John Steinbeck, published in 1952. It is a symbolic recreation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel woven into a history of California's Salinas Valley. With East of Eden Steinbeck hoped to reclaim his standing as a major novelist, but his broad depictions of good and evil come at the expense of subtlety in characterization and plot and it was not a critical success. Spanning the period between the American Civil War and the end of World War I, the novel highlights the conflicts of two generations of brothers; the first being the kind, gentle Adam Trask and his wild brother Charles. Adam eventually marries Cathy Ames, an evil, manipulative, and beautiful prostitute; she betrays him, joining Charles on the very night of their wedding. Later, after giving birth to twin boys, she shoots Adam and leaves him to return to her former profession. In the shadow of this heritage Adam raises their sons, the fair-haired, winning, yet intractable Aron, and the dark, clever Caleb. This second generation of brothers vie for their father's approval. In bitterness Caleb reveals the truth about their mother to Aron, who then joins the army and is killed in France. --

About the author:
No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.

Amazon link:

message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments Discussion Questions

*** Warning: Discussion questions contain SPOILERS !


1- Steinbeck has a character refer to Americans as a "breed," and near the end of the book Lee says to a conflicted Cal that "We are all descended from the restless, the nervous, the criminals, the arguers and brawlers, but also the brave and independent and generous. If our ancestors had not been that, they would have stayed in their home plots in the other world and starved over the squeezed-out soil." What makes this a quintessentially American book? Can you identify archetypically American qualities—perhaps some of those listed above—in the characters?

2- Sam Hamilton—called a "shining man"—and his children are an immigrant family in the classic American model. What comes with Sam and his wife Liza from the "old country"? How does living in America change them and their children? What opportunities does America provide for the clan, and what challenges?

3- Adam Trask struggles to overcome the actions of others—his father, brother, and wife—and make his own life. What is the lesson that he learns that frees him from Kate and allows him to love his sons? He says to Cal near the end that "if you want to give me a present—give me a good life. That would be something I could value." Does Adam have a good life? What hinders him? Would you characterize his life as successful in the end?

4- Lee is one of the most remarkable characters in American literature, a philosopher trapped by the racial expectations of his time. He is the essence of compassion, erudition, and calm, serving the Trasks while retaining a complex interior and emotional life. Do you understand why he speaks in pidgin, as he explains it to Sam Hamilton? How does his character change—in dress, speech, and action—over the course of the book? And why do you think Lee stays with the Trasks, instead of living on his own in San Francisco and pursuing his dream?

5- Women in the novel are not always as fully realized as the main male characters. The great exception is Adam Trask's wife, Cathy, later Kate the brothel owner. Clearly Kate's evil is meant to be of biblical proportions. Can you understand what motivates her? Is she truly evil or does Steinbeck allow some traces of humanity in his characterization of her? What does her final act, for Aron Trask, indicate about her (well-hidden) emotions?

6- Sibling rivalry is a crushing reoccurrence in East of Eden. First Adam and his brother Charles, then Adam's sons Cal and Aron, act out a drama of jealousy and competition that seems fated: Lee calls the story of Cain and Abel the "symbol story of the human soul." Why do you think this is so, or do you disagree? Have you ever experienced or witnessed such a rivalry? Do all of the siblings in the book act out this drama or do some escape it? If so, how? If all of the "C" characters seem initially to embody evil and all the "A" characters good—in this novel that charts the course of good and evil in human experience—is it true that good and evil are truly separate? Are the C characters also good, the A characters capable of evil?

7- Abra, at first simply an object of sexual competition to Cal and Aron, becomes a more complex character in her relationships with the brothers but also with Lee and her own family. She rebels against Aron's insistence that she be a one-dimensional symbol of pure femininity. What is it that she's really looking for? Compare her to some of the other women in the book (Kate, Liza, Adam's stepmother) and try to identify some of the qualities that set her apart. Do you think she might embody the kind of "modern" woman that emerged in postwar America?

8- Some of Steinbeck's ethnic and racial characterizations are loaded with stereotype. Yet he also makes extremely prescient comments about the role that many races played in the building of America, and he takes the time to give dignity to all types of persons. Lee is one example of a character that constantly subverts expectations. Can you think of other scenes or characters that might have challenged conventional notions in Steinbeck's time? In ours? How unusual do you think it might have been to write about America as a multicultural haven in the 1950s? And do you agree that that is what Steinbeck does, or do you think he reveals a darker side to American diversity?

9- What constitutes true wealth in the book? The Hamiltons and the Trasks are most explicitly differentiated by their relationship to money: though Sam Hamilton works hard he accumulates little, while Adam Trask moons and mourns and lives off the money acquired by his father. Think of different times that money is sought after or rejected by characters (such as Will Hamilton and Cal Trask) and the role that it plays to help and hinder them in realizing their dreams. Does the quest for money ever obscure deeper desires?

10- During the naming of the twins, Lee, Sam, and Adam have a long conversation about a sentence from Genesis, disagreeing over whether God has said an act is ordered or predetermined. Lee continues to think about this conversation and enlists the help of a group of Chinese philosophers to come to a conclusion: that God has given humans choice by saying that they may (the Hebrew word for "may," timshel, becomes a key trope in the novel), that people can choose for themselves. What is Steinbeck trying to say about guilt and forgiveness? About family inheritance versus free will? Think of instances where this distinction is important in the novel, and in your own life.

11- The end of the novel and the future of the Trasks seems to rest with Cal, the son least liked and least understood by his father and the town. What does Cal come to understand about his relationship to his past and to each member of his family? The last scene between Adam and Cal is momentous; what exactly happens between them, and how hopeful a note is this profound ending? Why is Lee trying to force Cal to overturn the assumption that lives are "all inherited"? What do you think Cal's future will be?

12- East of Eden is a combination novel/memoir; Steinbeck writes himself in as a minor character in the book, a member of the Hamilton family. What do you think he gained by morphing genres in this fashion? What distinguishes this from a typical autobiography? What do you think Steinbeck's extremely personal relationship to the material contributes to the novel?

message 5: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Sherry (sethurner) wrote: "East of Eden was the first book I read this year. Enjoy!"

Thanks, Sherry. Feel free to join in if you see something you'd like to add when we begin our comments.

Alias, thank you for the info and questions. Definitely a great jumping-off point for discussion.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Are we going to read up to a certain point and then discuss, or are we going to read the entire book and then talk about it? Will there be dates if we are reading certain parts?


message 7: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments This is Deborah's Buddy Read so I'll let her decide.

Though with our group read, we usually let people read at their own pace. That is why we ask people to put the chapter # at the top of each post so people can avoid spoilers. I think this is better than a zillion threads for every book we read. If we do that the board easily gets too cluttered to navigate.

This approach has worked well for us for numerous years.

message 8: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Marialyce wrote: "Are we going to read up to a certain point and then discuss, or are we going to read the entire book and then talk about it? Will there be dates if we are reading certain parts? "

Unless people reading the book together object, i'd prefer to read the entire book and then discuss. However, i know how tough this can be, particularly with a long book. I used to belong to a classic lit group that broke our books into parts & shared as we all progressed. It was a mixed bag, though. A few either read the entire book or had read the book years earlier and seemed to have trouble not spoiling the book's storyline. As Alias noted, if we post the chapter # folks should be able to avoid spoilers. It's easy to forget to do that, especially when replying to someone else's posts.

Having written that, i am open to either way. My personal timeline will be limited, as we leave for vacation October 15. Any other suggestions?

I am looking forward to reading this book together. As i mentioned earlier, i suspect this is the only way i'll read such a long book, Steinbeck or not! ;-)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) It is fine either way with me, Deborah. I also am not sure which way is the best, but I am willing to do it either way. So, we should be finished by the 23rd of Sept, or is this our start date? Sorry to be so dense!


message 10: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments The book is available at my library at the moment. It is such a long book. I'll try to pick it up today or early next week. Whatever you guys decide -- I guess I'll have to take notes. I groan at the idea of fitting this in, but I will do my best.

message 11: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 60 comments This thread caught my eye; I tried to read East of Eden a year or so ago and got distracted, and am intrigued by the idea of trying again, to discuss with others. Am not sure I will, as I just committed to reading another book with another GR group. However, I offer my own comments about posting on GR while reading, to be taken or left:

I just read The Passage by Justin Cronin over on the M/T Reading Friends board. It's about 600 pages and I would have had trouble staying motivated to keep pushing through the book (it bogged down in parts), and had far less to say, if I'd had to wait until the end to begin posting. Someone suggested creating a folder for each Part (there were 10 or 11, I think, each containing some number of chapters). Since I'm a co-moderator of that group and didn't want tons of folders I adapted the idea and created a topic for each Part under our longstanding Spoiler folder. In that folder you're allowed to drop spoilers to your heart's content, so creating a way of not going beyond your plot awareness was key.

As I was reading I would start to post and then forget what had or hadn't happened at a particular point, especially when going back to answer messages in earlier Parts. So I went back and put a brief summary of the part at the beginning of the topic to remind us of the parameters of that section. It was some work but it made a difference for me so I was willing to put in the time.

I find it hard to work with the method of noting chapters at the top of each post because of the fact that GR has no way of allowing you to mark individual messages for reading later. So I'd have to skip any post on a chapter I had not yet read, and write down the post number to come back to later, along with the chapter number.

I may be misremembering, but I think we did separate topics for sections of the book when reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Anyway, just felt motivated to chime in with my own experience, I will decide separately whether or not to launch into East of Eden again and if I do, chime in in whatever way I can.

message 12: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 11, 2010 08:44AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments If you do decide to do more than one thread, I would suggest only 2. (first half/second half) As noted, it becomes very hard to organize the board when there are dozens of threads. They will get mixed in with all the other threads for other Buddy read books. The only solution is to have a Folder for each book. I really rather not do that. Some already think we have too many folders and find it hard to navigate the board.

As to having a Folder for spoilers, I don't know if people will post in the main folder for non spoiler than move to another for spoilers. That to me seems way more complicated than just putting a chapter # or spoiler warning at the top of the post. We used this method for years at aol without any problems.

Than there is the problem of what is a spoiler. That is different for everyone. So if you put the chapter # at the top of your post, people don't have to worry is this a spoiler of not.

With GR,if the discussion is all in one thread, it is quite easy to just scroll back and read all the posts for a book. One really doesn't need to write down the post # or anything. I do that all the time.

Again, just my two cents.

message 13: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments I read East of Eden back when Oprah selected it for her group. Her web site always has great info for the books she selects. So you may want to check that out for additional things.

I can't use her web site as the many graphics and such don't work with dial-up.

message 14: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I picked up East of Eden today so we will see where this goes.

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I can say that I read Chapter 1, although short it is mesmerizing.

message 16: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 60 comments Alias Reader wrote: "With GR,if the discussion is all in one thread, it is quite easy to just scroll back and read all the posts for a book. One really doesn't need to write down the post # or anything. I do that all the time.

Maybe I'm making it more complicated than it is. I'm envisioning having to pick out the posts before the chapter I'm on, and having to do that every time I check back, say if the book has 50 chapters and I check back after every 10. Of course if I only do it once or twice while I'm reading the book, and then as many times as I want once I'm done, it's not a big deal.

message 17: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 11, 2010 07:19PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments Most posts are generic and aren't spoilers. If someone puts a chapter # and spoiler warning and you are not up to that, just scroll on by.

If you use the read new posts feature you won't be bothered by the post again.

Than when you are done, go back over the thread and reply.

The bigger problem we have is getting people to post and participate. It's not like there are thousands of posts to wade through.

Many boards who do break up the posts by chapter have many threads with under 15 posts in each thread.

I'm not a person who is really bothered by "spoilers" Of course if it is a "who done it", I don't want to know but for your average book I'm not bothered. I expect to find out some details if I am reading a board that is discussing a book. Often it will alert me to look out for something that I would have missed on my own.

As for this book, there was, and still is, plenty of time to read the book before the discussion begins. The first post was put up August 17th.

Our monthly reads have at least a months heads up.

Anyway, not to make a big thing over this.

I hope you all enjoy the book. It's an interesting read based on biblical themes. And even though I don't recall all the details of the plot anymore, I look forward to reading your posts on it.

message 18: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 60 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Most posts are generic and aren't spoilers. If someone puts a chapter # and spoiler warning and you are not up to that, just scroll on by.

If you use the read new posts feature you won't be bot..."

Thanks for the detailed response, Alias. I really was curious as to how people navigated the system given what seemed to me to be limitations, so I'm glad you hung in there to explain it. Now that I understand it I see it may not be quite as cumbersome as I thought, especially, as you say, when there aren't hundreds of posts. I'll give it some more thought.

message 19: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 12, 2010 07:43AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments Carol are you a John Steinbeck fan? I think The Grapes of Wrath is great. I've read it twice.

I also really enjoyed Travels with Charley: In Search of America a lot.

East of Eden is very good but not my favorite Steinbeck.

message 20: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 60 comments Alias, I've never read a Steinbeck, not even in school! And I hate to reveal my lowbrow tastes but his work seems like such heavy, downer reading that I've never been tempted. East of Eden seemed a good one to start with because of the melodramatic storyline.

Alias Reader wrote: "Carol are you a John Steinbeck fan? I think The Grapes of Wrath is great. I've read it twice.

I also really enjoyed [book:Travels with Charley: In Search of America|53..."

message 21: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments Travels with Charlie is upbeat and short. If EOE turns out to not float your boat, I would give TWC a chance.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America

message 22: by madrano (last edited Sep 13, 2010 05:47AM) (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Thank you Carol and Alias for sharing your experiences with group readings. I'm not sure how to post. Noting Chapters is a hard thing to remember, to be honest with you, particularly if you are replying to someone else's post or, better yet, in the heat of an exciting moment forget to note it. There are 4 parts to the book, but i'm not sure this will be any easier than remembering to start specific, spoiler-type, posts with the chapter number.

As i am one who feels there are already too many folders, i'd like to hold this one to one. So, i guess we'll just have to try to make note of where in the book your post fits. For instance, either chapter or part. If we forget, so be it. HOWEVER, please note that if you forget, you can edit your own post, which would be nice. :-) Of course this is still an issue for those who read the book earlier this year or years ago, but we will live with it.

And, since no one has stated a preference, i'd prefer to just read & discuss the book at one fell swoop and not by sections. By that i mean, not one Part at a time. This way those who have completed the book needn't refrain, lest they mention something not yet read by others. Yes, i think i am stating "Free For All." LOL!


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) That's just fine with me, Deborah. I put it on my Kindle so I will just take notes as I go. Thanks for setting this up!


message 24: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Yes, Deborah. Free for all -- that's us. LOL

message 25: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments What does Donna say... like rounding up cats. ;)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Started this, about 100 pages in am loving it!

message 27: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Marialyce, glad to hear it. Last night i Wikied the title & learned that this was kinda written for his sons, or with the idea they could learn about their family history from it. With that in mind i am more patient with the length when i feel i've read for hours & realize it's only been 20 pages. :-)


message 28: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments I got the book but it's due on the 24th, seems like the check out period went by mighty quick. I just tried to renew it online and others have it on hold so it won't let me. Dang it! I might just purchase the e-book, I plan to get all his stuff on my Kindle eventually anyway. I'll have to look at my budget and decide.

message 29: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I thought I had re-read this a few years ago but now I think I just discussed it then. So that means that I read it in the 1950s. I forgot how very much I absolutely love his writing as opposed to only discussing the plot without delving into the actual writing. Amazing!!

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) So right, Bobbi, his writing is absolutely superb. It may be a long book, but Steinbeck's writing style makes it feel short.

message 31: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Well written, Marialyce. Your comments echo my thoughts. His prose have appealed to me for decades but this novel is challenging that...or was until the first hundred pages or so. Now it's moving along. I suspect it was beginning such a long book which was my mental handicap this go 'round.

I'm halfway in and still liking his prose; the story is good, too. Forgive me, Mr. S, but i still think it coulda been curtailed. ;-)


message 32: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments I didn't want to edit my comments, but elucidate. As i read the first 100 pages i realized this is exactly the sort of novel i avoid reading today. It's long and even the best writer bores me with so many details. For some reason i don't mind lengths when it comes to 19th century and early 20th century novels but past the 40s or so & it's very hard for me to enjoy.

I think it has something to do with my own desire to become informed about lives i didn't have the opportunity to experience as i read. And i feel i know most of what contemporary writers are sharing about life in the U.S. today and there is little i want to explore. So, the beginning of this work felt the same way. I really hesitate to harp on length but so often i've waded through books of our times & felt major disappointment. In this case i will not because Steinbeck's work has been a favorite of mine for years. To finally read this is a pleasure--now i'll know. :-)

I write as if anyone asked. LOL!


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I know how you feel, Deborah. I also tend to avoid long novels as I often think of how many smaller ones I could be reading in the same amount of time. I know it is weird, but I get a kind of sense of accomplishment when I finished a book and of course it is easier to finish the shorter ones.

There is so little today which has the quality of a Steinbeck novel so this book is both a treat and an accomplishment. Although I do enjoy many contemporary novels, there is not much that gives you the depth the writing so simplistic yet elegant, and the wonderful insights as he did.

message 34: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I don't usually like novels with so much description and little dialogue like the beginning of East of Eden. But I found myself reading and savoring the writing and talking to myself about the fact that I don't usually like this. Does that make sense?

message 35: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "I don't usually like novels with so much description and little dialogue like the beginning of East of Eden. But I found myself reading and savoring the writing and talking to myself about the fact that I don't usually like this. Does that make sense? ..."

It does to me! I think this is what sets a Steinbeck apart from today's authors. The very writing, exploring words to share a vision we might well have seen. I felt this way when i read his The Grapes of Wrath but was more awed by it. Perhaps it's that in his prose he was one of the earlier writers to make the land a character? I'm not sure this is true or merely that this is when i noticed the possibility.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) He sure knew how to capture his readers. I love his characters, and that Cathy, Wow! she sends shudders down my spine.

message 37: by Sarah Suzy (new)

Sarah Suzy (gohawks) | 2 comments Yes, I'm in...a bit behind but in! Thanks!

message 38: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments Sarah, glad to have you with us. I doubt i'll have the novel completely read by tomorrow's "start" date but i'll be ready to discuss some sections. And the thread will remain open for a long time, which i'll need, as i often find myself referencing old novel discussions months after we've "concluded".


message 39: by Sarah Suzy (new)

Sarah Suzy (gohawks) | 2 comments Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Deborah. This is my first ever book club so I'm super excited but also a bit unsure. I was told by two of my best friends that this book is amazing and really worth the time and effort so here goes...

message 40: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments There is no way I will be finished by tomorrow but I am going to continue reading.

message 41: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments PARTS 1 AND 2. Very broad, however. No real spoilers below.

As predicted, i have not finished the book. In fact, i'm only on page 400. However, i think we can begin a decent conversation by being general, rather than specific. IF you decide to be more specific, please remember to make a notation at the top of your post to let us know what chapters (or Parts) you are making reference. This will help avoid spoilers and also help us locate our own notes about that section.

Generically speaking, did you feel the book heavy-handed with its Biblical references? If so, how early did you feel this?

For me, i didn't feel it was obvious (avoiding reviews and synopsis sites would have helped) until the end of Part 2. And, of course, i feel the book stands on its own whether one is aware of biblical stories or not.

As for the writing, did it grab you from the get-go? Or did you feel a slow drawing in? Were you aching to return to it when you had to stop reading for awhile?

Finally, what about the first part made you want to continue reading? Were the characters appealing? Or was it the time about which it was written which drew you closer?

And what about the fact that the novel begins in California, then moves to the past in the east? Do you feel the location itself was important to these characters and/or to the novel? By that i mean, did you consider Connecticut a character?

I hope you are enjoying reading the novel and will share in our exploration. Please feel free to ask your own questions and poke around in here. I'm a SPOILERS freak and knowing what's coming next can mar my reading, so once more i note that i'd appreciate it if folks would make a note at the top of the post to indicate which sections are discussed in your post. (See above.)


message 42: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I have read this book previously so I was aware of the biblical references however, because of the movie which only covers one part of the book, I didn't remember that the biblical references started truly early.

The beauty of the writing itself continues to draw me in.

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I am only about 200 pages in, but I find the writing to be outstanding. The biblical (religious) references do not put me off. I am also reading Faulkner at the moment and it seems as if both authors are transfixed by the religious elements of society and their characters' motivations. I have put the book aside for awhile while I finish the Faulkner book as I found reading the two together to be distracting to each novelist.

I am aching to get back to it as I found that Steinbeck's writing while quite simply put down compels one to continue to read. I have found the dialogue between the brothers, even though it seems banal, to be fascinating. It seems to me that the agitation of their lives is in such contrast to the way they connect with one another through their language interaction.

I am particularly fascinated by Cathy. Who or what does she symbolize. Is she the evil that lies within human nature or is she a character who was born damaged?

message 44: by Mike (new)

Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments As of now I can only passively participate in this. I was unable to keep the library copy as it had holds on it when I tried to renew it. I've read this in the past so I may he able to add something here and there. I'm enjoying what's here already and looking forward to the further discussion as it progresses. I just wanted to tell what happened here as I had said I would fully participate. I apologize but I'm stuck.

message 45: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17719 comments Marialyce wrote: "I am only about 200 pages in, but I find the writing to be outstanding. The biblical (religious) references do not put me off. I am also reading Faulkner at the moment and it seems as if both autho..."

Marialyce, in our Folder -Notable Literary Deaths & Birthdays- I noted yesterday was Faulkner's birthday.

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I have one more chapter to go, Alias. It is like I don't wan the book to end.

message 47: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments I think the idea is just to delay our reading to a better time from when we first came up with the idea, not to make certain we were all read by the 25th. I hope so, as it seems few (no one?) did that. ;-) Mike, i know that frustration and understand. I was fortunate that i had a copy of my own.

Marialyce, reading two such unique authors at once?! Yikes, i'd be confused. I can't even manage to read two novels (a classic & a mystery) simultaneously, so i cannot imagine trying to keep these two giants "in place".

Btw, my comments are here now because i fear i'll forget if i don't make notes as they come to me.


message 48: by madrano (new)

madrano | 10328 comments NOT REALLY SPOILERS BUT THIS COVERS THE ENTIRE BOOK, more observation about names than characters

Marialyce wrote: "I am particularly fascinated by Cathy. Who or what does she symbolize. Is she the evil that lies within human nature or is she a character who was born damaged? ..."

I was discussing this book with DH yesterday because i delayed dinner so i could finish it. As we talked i realized how many character's names began with a "C". It seemed to me that most of the C-names had major choices to make between good and evil. Originally i just thought of Cathy and her son, but then i realized Charles and even the first dad, Cyrus, all began with C and appeared to have had to make those choices. Not that others (& everyone, of course) don't, only we get to read more about theirs.

Just thought i'd throw that into the mix without much comment at present.


message 49: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Deborah -- Was reading your post and for the first time I thought "C" as in Cain maybe?? Am I reaching too far. Anyway it just popped into my head.

Even though I read this book before and even though I seem to be going too slowly because of other stuff in my life I find that I definitely don't want to put this down. So I will continue on.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Thanks Deborah, I hadn't noticed that. I am back to the book today as I finished the Faulkner book. I will catch up with everyone shortly. (I hope!)

I do like that we can savor the book together with no rush to be done. ;-)

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