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East of Eden

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I was shocked to see there isn't a thread already for this book, surely many of you have read this.

A very brief synopsis: The story tells the tale of Adam, from the sibling hatred and scramble for love as a child through to his marriage to Cathy, the woman with many other plans, who walks out and leaves him just days after giving birth to his twin sons. The rest of the novel deals with how he copes, and the way his children grow up.


Definately, definately a must read.

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Just found hubby's copy of this and pulled it out for a re-read. Though Steinbeck is one of our favourite writers, oddly I don't think I've read this one all the way through...borrowed it while visiting away from home and had to give it back to the owner before completion. Fascinating. I love his use of language. Will post more as I progress.

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Ambitious, classic tale of good and evil.


As barblue has pointed out in the Grapes of Wrath thread, Steinbeck loved a great biblical reference. In East of Eden it is multilayered. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy that God preferred his offering -



Charles nearly beats his brother Adam to death, jealous that their father loves Adam (and his birthday gift) better. Ironically, Adam is grieved that his stepmother thinks the small gifts he leaves for her are bestowed by the taciturn Charles.



It will be interesting to see how the story plays out as the twin boys Caleb and Aaron mature. Thoughtful, fascinating characters beautifully drawn - especially the hapless genius Sam Hamilton (based, I read, on Steinbeck's maternal grandfather).

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I have watched the movie ages ago and always wanted to read the book. I'm glad I did. Steinbeck is a wonderful author, his writing is almost poetry, his thoughts philosophical and, yet, his stories are so alive. You have the feeling you're there with the characters, you laugh and cry with them.


Steinbeck talks about problems as old as mankind, he retells the story of Cain Abel and Adam and they live in his native California.


An excellent report about growing up, growing in different directions, about good and evil, young and old, a very moving story, so many lives that you fear and hope with.


I loved this book.

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It is definitely a great novel and was intrigued to see how the story would pan out. Cathy must be one of the most unpleasant characters in fiction. The hero for me was Lee, Adam's chinese servant - he is such a beautifully drawn character. The novel is undoubtedly flawed - it is too long and the half of it that deals with Steinbeck's relatives especially his Hamilton grandfather whom he obviously hero-worshipped doesn't really work - the real story is that of Adam and his family.

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