East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden is a novel by American author and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck. Published in 1952, the work is regarded by many to be Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel  …

Steinbeck stated about East of Eden: “It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years,” and later said: “I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.”  …

I liked it less well than the author, but am still pleased to have made it through the lengthy, rambling saga.

Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. In fact, he appears as himself as a small boy in this novel.

Racism is a fact in this era. But one of the two smartest and best characters is Lee, an American born Chinese servant.

The other character you want to spend time with is Samuel Hamilton, the patriarch of one family.

Steinbeck books frequently explore the themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists. For example, Of Mice and Men.

The female characters are not nearly as important or well drawn as the men and boys.

The title comes from Genesis, Chapter 4, verse 16. The story of Cain and Abel.

Two sets of brothers are the main characters in this book. And one of the four is named Adam.

There are weird love triangles complicating both sets of brothers.

There’s something of a reimagining of the biblical story woven into a history of California’s Salinas Valley.

My two highlights reflecting back on this epic:

  • the STORY telling is memorable and entertaining
  • the philosophical discussions

James Dean played in one of the movie adaptations.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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