East of Eden

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East of Eden

by John Steinbeck
Other David Wyatt

Penguin Classics | January 13, 1993 | Trade Paperback

East of Eden is rated 4.4483 out of 5 by 29.
A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors

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 Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love''s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
 
This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by David Wyatt.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

 


Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 640 pages, 7.78 × 5.06 × 1.1 in

Published: January 13, 1993

Publisher: Penguin Classics

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0140186395

ISBN - 13: 9780140186390

Found in: Literary

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was good 3.5 stars Adam and Charles are brothers who grew up in Connecticut, and are quite opposite. Under his father's pressure, Adam joins the army, but hates it. When he returns after wandering for a time, he marries, and leaves for California. Charles hates Cathy, Adam's new wife. There is something a little "off" about her. The remainder of the book focuses on Adam's life on a farm in California, including raising his twin sons, Cal and Aron, and his relationships with his neighbour, Sam Hamilton, and his employee, Lee, who helps run the household. It was good. I found some parts more interesting than others, especially those parts that focused on Cathy. I thought the characters were very well done.
Date published: 2012-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional This story takes place at the turn of century (1900) in Salinas, a mostly fertile valley in northern California. The story covers 2 families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, and their trials and tribulations as farming neighbours. While one is a large, happy family, the other is infected with pure evil. Filled with murder, betrayal, and cover-ups and told through unforgettable characters, makes this story truly exceptional. East of Eden will take you into the darkest corners of the human mind and at the same time show our capacity for great love and unselfishness. Steinbeck’s talent as an outstanding story teller shines through in this unforgettable saga. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.
Date published: 2012-02-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great The novel East of Eden is about the sides of good and evil in society, and the novels explores a great deal of themes such as depravity and love, to name a few. What is also quite interesting is that the novels has a great deal of parallels with the Book of Genesis, specifically Cain and Abel. It is certainly the magnus opus of John Steinbeck.
Date published: 2012-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping Read You can never go wrong with Steinbeck and this is one of his best works. It is gripping from beginning to end and impossible to put down, and a book that everyone should read at some point in their life.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Philosophy of the East of Eden John Steinbeck’s East of Eden talks about who people really are inside- the good, the evil and all those in-between. In fact it was clear that one could not say for sure certain people were purely evil or good but there was a certain understanding why someone was someway. John Steinbeck took you into the heart and soul of each character so you could understand why people are the way they are. East of Eden is really a story about life-even if it doesn’t directly apply, the events in the book do not specifically happen to you, you can relate to each character because they are symbols of different people in our society. But the part the grabbed me the most was perhaps the most important part in the book. At the end of the book when Lee asks Adam to forgive his son Cal by saying his name before he dies of his stroke Adam speaks only one word: “Timshel!” and dies. Timshel is the Hebrew word for “Thou mayest.” It was discussed earlier about the translations of the fourth chapter of Genesis. The King James version has “thou shalt”, which was apromise that Cain would conquer sin. But the American standard bible had that part listed as “Do thou” which was an order. But it was discovered that it was “Thou mayest rule over sin,” which suggests choice because you may but you may not. At the end Leee asks Adam to forgive his son so his son does not have to carry the guilt of Aron’s death but all Adam says is ‘Timshel” which suggests to me that Adam is giving his son Cal a choice whenever or not he will forgive himself for it. This is a good book if you want to go deep into the philosophy of life.
Date published: 2010-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! A very touching story. This book could easily be considered a timeless classic.
Date published: 2010-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best Books of All Time Why? Because there is next to no ego in the last book John Steinbeck ever wrote. You finish "East of Eden" and you remember the characters not the writer. You remember Lee, who is so selfless and good and wise; you remember the two sets of brothers, Adam and Charles, and Cal and Aron; and with a series of spinal shudders you find you cannot forget Cathy (or Catherine) who has to go down as one of the most sinister - and interesting - characters in all fiction. No tricks, no overly clever plot-twists or wordplays, this is just a straight-ahead, old-fashioned, fascinating story about the greatest biblical theme of them all: people's struggle with good and evil. But that's not all. It's so much more than that. [Ok, nerdy confession time:] I drew up a list of all the great themes "East of Eden" covers but have since scrapped it because Steinbeck does precisely that in the book's appropriately humble epigraph, delivered as a simple letter to a dear friend: "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 gratitude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full. John" What more need be said? -Probably Because I Have To
Date published: 2010-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! When I first started to read East Of Eden, I didn't really know what to expect, but now that I'm done with it, I definitely understand why it is considered like one of the greatest book of the American litterature. Themes are considerably important, we can see that the caracters and the action are both very well described.
Date published: 2010-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An amazing read ! this is a farily long novel, but worth the read! so much happens throughout the novel, it never really gets boring ! Hopee you concider reading this novel : ) enjoyy !
Date published: 2010-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging and addictive novel This is one of the best books I have read. I love the classics, but with few exceptions, am not usually crazy about the American classics. This book was really fantastic, written superbly makes you feel like you are a part of the story. I am glad I gave Steinbeck a chance. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2009-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing One of my favorite novels of all time. I enjoyed it much more than Grapes of Wrath, though that is not to say that it is better. The biggest difference in my eyes is that Grapes of Wrath starts slow and builds and builds in pedantic but wonderful prose, towards an unforgettable ending. East of Eden seems to do the opposite. The first half of the novel is full of wonderful stories that set the tone for the second half which is a bit slower and less exciting. Either way Steinbeck is a master of prose, and this is worth reading for anyone.
Date published: 2009-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really a great book It's difficult to describe what exactly this book is about, except to say that it tells a story of numerous characters whose lives are inter-twined with each other. Steinbeck is a master with his words at helping the reader really understand the intricate dimensions of the character. We are lead to appreciate that people are not one-dimensional being either good or evil, but complicated. This is probably the strength of this novel, and the story just lets us get to know the people.
Date published: 2008-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Classic Must Read I'm a little hesitant about some of Oprahs book club picks especially when they are considered classics but I was blown away by this book. I was interested in every word that was written and was disappointed when it ended. Everybody should read this book.
Date published: 2008-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I've read It's probably very cliche for me even to try to write a positive review about this book. Whatever I write will most likely have been written or said by someone else, but I am compelled to write something because this is a beautiful novel. The plot unfolds naturally, thoughtfully, and precisely. The characters are utterly dynamic, real, and differentiated. Unlike many male writers from Steinbeck's era, the female characters are just as human as the male characters. Additionally, the Chinese character of Lee is just as differentiated as the white characters in spite of the allusions to race. In addition to adding much to the story, this type of character development gives me an immense respect for Steinbeck who was clearly ahead of his time in a relatively more sexist and racist time than the present. Additionally, Steinbeck's understanding of human motivation is genius. Dostoevsky is his only real rival. Steinbeck's exploration of good, evil, and choice is universal. This book is filled with insights that are huge areas of research in social psychology. I am a researcher who has always believed that reading certain works of classic fiction can assist with research. This book more than proves this belief. In addition to the merits I described, and the others I left out of this review, this book is utterly engaging. I cared about the characters and wanted to understand their lives. This book contains tragedy, but is still uplifting. East of Eden is a beautiful and real depiction of life.
Date published: 2008-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! I recommend this book to anyone who simply enjoys reading. The story, characters, and narration are all so wonderfully presented making it near impossible to put down. In my opinion this is Steinbeck on the top of his game. I enjoyed it considerably more than Grapes of Wrath. In the book you are introduced to characters with different takes on morals that causes you to be affected on a personal level. It has a very strong message about the ability of free will and decisions. East of Eden is a pure work of genius and you will feel changed after reading it... in a good way.
Date published: 2008-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing, truly an American classic! East of Eden is one of those novels that you live as you read. Throughout the course of my reading the novel, I couldn't escape its dry dusty presence. I would think about the characters, about Salinas, about the ranches, the farms, and the soaring mountains. The characters in East of Eden are perhaps its greatest achievement. You are drawn into their lives and cannot escape. You start to hate Cathy, love Abra and want to just go and give Adam, Cal and Aron a big hug. They become part of your life. The novel is immense, truly an epic, but it never seems to stagnate, it is constantly flowing, constantly moving you. It is a heart-wrenching and soul-draining story of failure, persistence and the elusiveness of hope. A must read for anyone who wants to change their views on life.
Date published: 2008-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding work After reading this wonderful cast of characters, I had to take a trip to the Salinas valley. I fell in love with John Steinbeck all over again. A gifted writer with so much to share. do yourself a favour and read this wonderful book...you wont be sorry.
Date published: 2008-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Classic Worth Reading I always have a really hard time getting into classic novels and as such am always afraid of reading them. For the most part it always feels as if I should expect to write a book report afterwards and that the story itself will be written in this "old-fashioned" way. It was with great surprise that I really found myself enjoying "East of Eden". I actually really like the story, the pace, and all of the characters Steinbeck created. This is one where I truly understand why after all this time people still talk about it and still enjoy reading it.
Date published: 2008-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossible to put down! Really touching story... This is a great book and a true classic. A must-read!
Date published: 2007-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MY FAVOURITE I chose to read this book for a final in a course I took and I'm so happy I picked this one. The imagery, metaphors, and characters are so beautifully crafted. This was a fantastic read!
Date published: 2007-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Some parts were a little slow for me but then something would happen and then before I knew it, I couldn't put the book down and when I did all I could think about was "what will happen next?".
Date published: 2006-06-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very disturbing. I found this book very disturbing. One of those books where men try to play out fantasies about how they think women really think....but far, so far from the truth....attempted abortions, manipulative hookers...really not so taseful.
Date published: 2006-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Shocked! I was pleasantly surprized when I read East of Eden. I didn't know what to expect, I hadn't had much luck with other "oprah book club" books. I read Grapes of Wrath in high school and apparently that was a little too deep for a 17 year old because I hated it. My friend told me that I NEEDED to read this book and I'm glad I did. I may not have liked the characters but I cared about what happened to them. This one is a keeper.
Date published: 2006-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Wow. This was the first time I read a Steinbeck novel and I was thoroughly impressed. The characters are rich, the story moves along beautifully and the theme of Able and Cain holds a strong impact to the reader. The saying 'Thou Mayest' will now become part of my own internal monologue. I highly recommend this novel!
Date published: 2005-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from East of Eden An alien from another planet could study this book, and when finished have a full and complete understanding of all humans and how they think and feel, from birth to death. The most inspiring highs to the most repulsive lows and all tangents in between. Hope, jealousy, success, happiness, pressure, hate, love, all loves and on and on.The old California setting adds nostalgic value to the epic, and today, serves an escape to a far and different land.Stienbeck is a master of creating a vivid picture in the mindês eye. The difference between the settings of the good ol days and today, strengthens the portrayal of the timeless spectrum of human emotion and being. Best read slowly and savored.
Date published: 2004-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining Read This was the first Steinbech novel I ever read and it took me a bit to get into it, but I loved it and highly recommend that everyone read it. The reason it took me a while to get into it is that Steinbech is extremely descriptive, but once you get used to the style, he draws you in and you don't want the story to end.
Date published: 2003-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not as difficult Don't let the 'size' of this book intimidate you. Once you have started, you can hardly put it down. Not one of those 'classic' books that you need to sometimes refer back because you have completed a page and have no idea what you have just read. An outstanding book and a very good choice for a book club.
Date published: 2003-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful It is a book that everyone should read. You will discover yourself in it. You will see that the purpose of life is not to be perfect as an individual but to know that you aren’t perfect!
Date published: 2003-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good and Evil This was Steinbeck's "first book" although, by this time, he had published the controversial "Grapes of Wrath." It outlines the history of two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, at the turn of the century. The dominant character is Cathy. She happens to be an evil whoremaster reponsible for the deaths of her parents and boss. She weds Adam Trask, and they have a couple of boys. But Cathy abandons her family. Adam spends the rest of his life in a search for meaning, bringing him eventually to the Masonic (of which there is only a page's mention). Multiple other characters are surveyed throughout. It is episodic rather than plot-driven. The book tended to be repetitive, but many of the sentences had striking similes. As always, we are shown with Steinbeck the struggles of the Californian working class.
Date published: 2001-05-11

– More About This Product –

East of Eden

by John Steinbeck
Other David Wyatt

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 640 pages, 7.78 × 5.06 × 1.1 in

Published: January 13, 1993

Publisher: Penguin Classics

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0140186395

ISBN - 13: 9780140186390

From the Publisher

A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors

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 Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love''s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
 
This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by David Wyatt.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

 


About the Author

JOHN STEINBECK (1902?1968) was born in Salinas, California. He worked as a laborer and a journalist, and in 1935, when he published Tortilla Flat, he achieved popular success and financial security. Steinbeck wrote more than twenty-five novels and won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Nearly all of his books are available in Penguin Classics.

From Our Editors

California's Salinas Valley is the proving grounds for John Steinbeck's version of Cain and Abel. East of Eden runs the course of two generations from the end of the American Civil War to the Beginning of the First World War. Adam Trask is innocent and fair. His wild brother Charles isn't - he sleeps with Adam's prostitute bride, the manipulative Cathy Ames, on the wedding night. Twins fall from her womb just days before she shoots her husband and runs off, leaving him to care for Aron and Caleb. The epic story of these lives, filled with heartbreak, betrayal and hope, consistently barters with human emotions in its convincing attempt to render the world conflicted.

Editorial Reviews



"A novel planned on the grandest possible scale...One of those occasions when a writer has aimed high and then summoned every ounce of energy, talent, seriousness, and passion of which he was capable...It is an entirely interesting and impressive book."
—The New York Herald Tribune
 



"A fantasia and myth...a strange and original work of art."
—The New York Times Book Review
 



"A moving, crying pageant with wilderness strengths."
—Carl Sandburg

"When the book club ended a year ago, I said I would bring it back when I found the book that was moving…and this is a great one. I read it for myself for the first time and then I had some friends read it. And we think it might be the best novel we''ve ever read!"
—Oprah Winfrey
 

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