Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

Tremendous in scope- tremendous in depth of penetration- and as different a Steinbeck as the Steinbeck of Burning Bright was from the Steinbeck of Grates of th. Here is no saga of the underprivileged — no drama of social significance. Tenderness, which some felt was inherent in everything Steinbeck wrote, is muted almost to the vanishing point in this story of conflict within character, impact of ... Read full review

Review: East of Eden

Editorial Review - - Judith Handschuh

When he began EAST OF EDEN, John Steinbeck intended to write about his family, and how they settled in California. Along the way, the story grew and changed, until it became an allegory about good and evil and a symbolic recreation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Spanning the years between the Civil War and the end of World War I, the novel traces the story of two generations of brothers ... Read full review

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2012 - April

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A study of life, evil, secrets, and your soul. I have adopted timshel as my religion.

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I read it years ago but I drift back to some pretty memorable scenes often... the description of the woman while giving birth resonates with me.

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This is the book which - if anyone asked - I would name as my favorite book. (As an aussie I would spell that favourite, but concede to a US-English spellcheck ...).
Two generations of two sons
play out versions of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. As Samuel, the wise man involved with Adam - the father of the second generation of sons - opines, the story of Cain and Abel is personal to us all, and we are descendents of Cain. We all have experienced rejection, hurt others in revenge for the pain, and experienced guilt at our own maliciousness. For this not to become a cycle into complete alienation from others we must manage to achieve an optimistic engagement with other people despite remembered rejection, pain and guilt.
What this requires is discussed by Samuel, Adam and Lee - Adam's wise servant - in the process of naming the second two sons Cal and Aaron. They agree they should not be named Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam in the bible, as that would damn Cain to be Abel's murderer. They agree on the importance of what God says to Cain:
- Where is your brother?
- Am I my brother's keeper?
(Joseph Heller in *God Knows* claims the Jews invented, and are identified with the rhetorical question)
Previously (King James version):
And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Thou shalt (rule over sin)? Meaning that you will? Or that you must? Samuel is not happy with either version of God's words to Cain. Lee, with help from his clan's scholars comes up with another translation: Thou mayest ie You may. Samuel likes this best - not a promise, or an order, but an invitation to a free participant in life. We are all sinners, but we may triumph over sin, rise above our errors, break the cycle of non-acceptance, revenge and guilt.
The story stresses how hard it may be to deal with toxic guilt, on our own, without promise or compulsion, but how it is our lot.
Cal, in the second generation, feels he has killed his brother. His dying father recalls the discussion with Samuel and Lee ...
A truly great, memorable book.

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This book was very long, but I read it in about 2 weeks. This is my first book by him and he's a great writer. It's easy to see why this book is a classic! I thought it was so interesting and I was completely engaged in the characters. My only complaint is that Steinbeck is very descriptive with the land and nature details, which some may like but I could've done without. I look forward to reading other books by this author. Good book and I would recommend.  

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Wonderfull. A book to read

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A Classic from a classic author.

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This book is phenomenal! It really captures a variety of emotions from the audience as the audience is able to journey through the life of every single character. Samuel Hamilton is an impressive character with a mind that is extremely intellectual. I have never read of a character that is more atrocious and selfish than Cathy Ames. I really like Biblical allegory to the story of Cain and Abel as well. Overall, this book really puts the audience through a catharsis. These are certainly the best 601 pages I have ever read in my life. Too memorable to be forgotten.  

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