East of Eden   -     By: John Steinbeck, David Wyatt
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East of Eden

Penguin Classics / 1992 / Paperback

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Product Description

The masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years--a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis. In his journal, 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. Here is the 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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 602
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1992
Dimensions: 7.73 X 5.06 X 1.16 (inches)
ISBN: 0140186395
ISBN-13: 9780140186390
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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 seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 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.

Author Bio

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).

After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.

The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961),Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. 

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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  1. Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Kind of disappointed
    March 19, 2016
    Jessica
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    East of Eden tells the history of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. The narrator, a member of one of the families, recounts the stories as they were told to him. We follow several generations through life, death, love, and hatred.

    The book summary says that this is a modern retelling of the book of Genesis, which is what caught my attention when selecting this book. Sadly, with the exception of Cain and Abel, I dont see the parallels. Admittedly, I only made it halfway through the book before deciding to stop. At 600 pages, with half of that left to go, I knew it was time for me to stop.

    Since Ive enjoyed Steinbecks work in the past, I was disappointed with this one. As usual, his characters are very human. They are flawed, some of them deeply. I found what I enjoyed most about this novel were the long sections of dialogue between characters.

    It was the rest of the book that failed to keep my interest. Long sections of narration and scene description. At one point, there was almost an entire page describing how a wooden structure was built. The story often felt disjointed as it went from one character to another, until many of the stories merge. However, more characters are added as the novel moves along.

    Be aware that there is a lot of cursing and adult themes in this novel.
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