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East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – October 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth Century Classics
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (October 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140186395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140186390
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,012 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review



"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
 

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.

More About the Author

John Steinbeck (1902-1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men.

Customer Reviews

The writing style is beautiful and the story is compelling.
Anna
John Steinbeck's East of Eden, which was a late, great masterpiece in the author's career, is also one of the greatest American novels of all-time.
Bill R. Moore
Just finished reading this book and am still feeling the goosebumps after finishing the last page.
Gonzalez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

227 of 233 people found the following review helpful By Hasmita CHANDER on December 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's always difficult reading a book that has been praised to the skies without expecting too much, and that's why it usually fails to deliver. Those who read it after this book became an Oprah Book Club selection seem to have come to it with just such expectations.
Try, however, to always approach a book or movie, however much it has been praised, as any other. Simply pick it up and read it without any expectations. This is how I read it, and gosh, was I pleasantly surprised.
The characters are people I wish I could know personally--especially Samuel, I wished I could be one of his many children just to have him as a father; Lee, so taciturn yet wise and always there, such a comfort to have and know such a person; and Caleb, whom we tend to identify with in so many ways.
True, the story might have extremes, and be predictable if you were able to keep yourself so uninvolved in the story. Those who commented on the 'plot', perhaps such a book is not what you ought to read. Pick up a Grisham or some other fast-paced 'plotty' book.
East of Eden is for those who think, who care about who they are and who they want to be or ought to have been. People have talked of its being depressing. It's not. I hate depressing books myself. At least it's not a meaningless depression in which you can't identify with the story at all, but it simply sucks you down. This book made me cry at many points--from empathy or sympathy for the characters, from the beauty of the language, and from appreciating the wisdom in it.
I admire passages, descriptions, dialogues so much in this book that I re-read them, and re-read the entire novel already, and may do so again. I'm not the kind who likes to re-read books either. There's simply so much wisdom and simplicity and reassurance in here that it's a treasure--for me, at least. I think I'm lucky to have a book that means so much to me.
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268 of 277 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
John Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN was not well received by critics when it debuted in the 1950s, and although passing years have seen several re-evaluations it is still reguarded as secondary to the likes of GRAPES OF WRATH and OF MICE AND MEN. It is true that the novel is flawed: it is a great big rambling thing crammed with obvious allegory, metaphor, and allusion, loosely structured to say the least. And yet, in a odd sort of way, the very rambling, the looseness, the obviousness of the work gives it a tremendous grandeur that Steinbeck's more tightly structured work lacks. The novel is as broad and vulgar and lively and provocative as the America it describes--and it is my favorite of Steinbeck's fiction.
Any one who comes to the novel from the famous film adaptation starring James Dean will be surprized, for the roots of the novel run much deeper than the film, which is based only on perhaps a third of the novel. This is not so much the story of brothers Aaron and Caleb Trask as it is the story of their parents, Adam Trask and Catherine Ames. And in "Cathy" Ames, Steinbeck creates one of the darkest characters in all of 20th Century American Literature, a creature devoid of virtually anything recognizable as human emotion. Fleeing from a past that includes murder, perversion, blackmail, and prostitution, Cathy assumes an angelic demeanor and lures the emotionally needy Adam Trask into love and marriage. And when she no longer requires his protection... she destroys him.
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142 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on August 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Steinbeck is at his best in this classic tale of sibling rivalry as he examines what we become vs. what we *may* become. The Biblical tale of Cain and Abel sets the tone as we are introduced to two sets of brothers. Each tries to win the love of his father in different ways. The story of why one brother succeeds while another feels unloved is beautifully told.
Adam Trask, from the first set of brothers, repeats his own story with his sons, the twins Aron and Caleb. The enduring themes of light vs. dark, good vs. evil, hatred vs. love, and always the free will, the ability to choose one's own destiny are paramount to this rich and multi-layered tale.
Above all, it is the characters you will long remember from this riveting saga. Cathy, the whore with a heart of stone, has to be one of the most evil characters in all literature. She kills her parents, beds her husband's brother on her wedding night, shoots her husband and desserts her infant sons. And, all this before she turns really bad! Truly a character to be analyzed for decades to come. On the other hand there are the wonderful characters of Samuel and Lee, men you will long remember for their wisdom, caring, and sheer goodness. And there is Adam, a zombie of a man until his great re-birth and spectacular failure finds him caught in a web of good and evil that he will long struggle with.
John Steinbeck puts himself into the novel, as Samuel Hamilton is based on his own maternal grandfather. The entire Hamilton clan is one that represents the true "salt of the earth" and elevates this to "great American novel" stature.
The story is complex and involving, the characters unforgettable. Kudos to Oprah for reviving interest in this wonderful story.
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