am 24. Februar 2005
It is not often for someone to come across great reads that actually changes the person's life. Reading Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" and John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" had a profound influence on me. There was so much to learn from those stories since they were so complete in treating humanity. In fact, these are deep, insightful and inspirational books that one can not easily throw aside after one has finished. These major classics are books to ponder about, books for us to think and reflect over and over. If you haven't read this great piece of American literature, then I suggest that you do so.
I also recommend: Anna Karenina and Disciples of Fortune-these are two other classic works.
am 30. November 2001
This book is a wonderful read. When I started reading it, I continued until 3.30 in the morning. The new books often come with endless praise on the cover. "East of Eden" doesn't - it's a classic, and I've wowed to read more classics. I loved the movie, the book is even better - much better.
am 19. September 2000
I LOVED THIS BOOK! At first I thought it would be boring because it was for school and it is hugh. But once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I'm only 15 and anything but a reader, but after this novel, I wanted to learn more about Steinbeck. This is a book for anyone from a romantic to a pervert. You won't regret getting this book.
am 30. Mai 2000
The book concerns two families living in the Salinas Valley in California: the Trasks and the Hamiltons. To a certain extent a family history, East of Eden is told from the point of view of John Steinbeck himself, a descendant of the Hamilton family who only makes a few brief appearances in the novel. The story is about Love and Loss, humans and monsters, brotherly camaraderie, survival, and the choice to make of life what "thou mayest."
The characters from East of Eden have the strength, vividity, and profundity of the archetypal characters of the Bible or The Odyssey. Samuel Hamilton, who gives of himself physically and mentally to no end but who winds up the poorest man in town; Lee, the intellectual Chinese-American philosopher who chooses to live his life as a pidgin-talking servant to a family that needs but underappreciates him; Kate, the obscene, self-described "monster" who is lacking a crucial aspect of humanity; Liza Hamilton, the practical, solemn, fiercely religious matriarch of the Hamilton family; Will Hamilton, the quintessential sellout--a businessman who simply does not understand his siblings; Cal Trask, the hardened, practical, apparent "bad" son who would give anything for the naivete or sensitivity of his brother.
These characters lend to the story a richness and a certain sense of reality--yet they truly transcend the story and exist outside of it. The characters are us and the people we know-- their stories are our stories. Read this novel and you will not only love it but also enjoy and savor it on your own personal level.
am 23. Februar 2005
It is often for someone to come across great reads that actually changes the person's life. Reading Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" and John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" had a profound influence on me. There was so much to learn from those stories since they were so complete in treating humanity. In fact, these are deep, insightful and inspirational books that one can not easily throw aside after one has finished. These major classics are books to ponder about, books for us to think and reflect over and over. If you haven't read this great piece of American literature, then I suggest that you do so.
I also recommend: Anna Karenina and Disciples of Fortune-these are two other classic works.
am 11. April 2000
The initial response to East of Eden reminds me of the reviews of Tchaikovski's violin concerto which was excoriated at its debut as "an assault on the violin." It's clear that those who initially evaluated the novel clearly failed to appreciate the scope of Steinbeck's ambition and the extent to which he succeeded. I've read this novel 5 times now, each time more slowly. I always come away astonished at the depth of his understanding of the human condition, particularly his understanding that the feeling of being unloved has caused most of the misery in history.
am 25. März 2012
Without a doubt one of the best books I've read so far. Steinbeck's way of telling a story - or rather, many different stories that relate to each other - and his depiction of all the characters and the historical circumstances that influence them is just beautiful. His language is easy yet precise. The core of the story seems to be a re-telling of Cain and Abel, and the question if we have our own choice, or are determined by our heritage, social environment, or whatever, but there's so much more in it that makes this novel such a great read. I liked the choice of perspective, making "John Steinbeck" an actual character and part of one of the two families. He tells the whole story, but never focuses on himself. Read this book!
am 8. Februar 2000
East of Eden dissects to examine the frailties and strengths of the qualities that separate humans from other forms of life. The model centers the first human family, according to the Judeo-Christian religion, that of Adam and Eve and their sons Cain and Abel embodied by the Trasks.
In the first generation of the Trask family, brothers Adam and Charles reenact the rivalry between Abel and Cain. Charles easily becomes jealous and wrathful whilst Adam is emotionally tranquil and kind. Charles's animosity toward Adam, arising from Cyrus's preference of Adam, is expressed in violence. The bitterness of the Trask household is the result of emotional dysfunction. Ironically, it is Adam who does not love Cyrus. Charles does love their father, but Cyrus does not reciprocate Charles's affection. The first generation of the Trask family is a criticism of God in God's refusal of Cain's offering, which amounted in Cain's opinion as a withdrawal of God's love for him.
The Cain-Abel theme is explored once again in the second generation of the Trask family sons - Caleb and Aron. Caleb resembles Charles in appearance and behavior and Aron that of his father Adam. Caleb is aware of his evil nature and believes that it is inherited from his mother. Lee warns him, however, that he alone is responsible for his actions and that the potential for goodness or evil is the same. Steinbeck reinforces the freedom of humans to do both. After being punished by God, Cain receives a mark to protect him from danger and is told that he may defeat evil if he so chooses. In the theme of brother against brother, Steinbeck recreates the story of fall and redemption.
The marriage of Adam and Cathy delves into the Fall of Mankind. Like Eve who disobeyed God, which led to the punishment of humanity, Cathy is the source of sins. She harbors the mark of Cain on her forehead. Steinbeck portrays her as purely evil, committing atrocities and leading others to do the same. She is an arsonist, a murderer, whore, etc. Cathy is undoubtedly unrealistic, and today she would exist only in daytime soap operas. However, Steinbeck uses Cathy to portray the apparent rewards of sin and thus its power. Adam, like Eve's husband, has a non-violent nature that makes him easily succumb to her schemes and treachery. It is important to notice that Cathy is not redeemed. Caleb, however, receives Adam's forgiveness and thus the will to live.
East of Eden, being named after the dwelling place of Cain after his act of fratricide, firmly upholds humanity's ability for love and humaneness.
am 4. September 1998
East of Eden is my favourite book. Many an author dreams of achieving what Steinbeck achieves in this novel. It is a family saga that captures the essence of living within its pages and focuses on the individuality of lives - and the absolute power that those lives have to shape others.
It is the most spiritually alive and aware book I have ever read. It encompasses the best and the worst of what it means to be human. It always moves me to tears because it makes me realise that we all hold failure in our hearts - and yet it inspires me to believe in the greatness of the individual. None of us are beyond loving.
Focusing on two families with very different upbringings and influences, it studies the often harmful effect of relationships on ego and the desire of every child to be loved - every child but one.
Cathy is a woman who looks only to herself and seems to feel no guilt or remorse for her actions. She is born entirely selfish.
In complete contrast to Cathy is Samuel, an inspirational and charismatic figure who loves all. The underlying message of the novel is that despite the surrounding environment we all have a certain potential, and we all "Mayest" achieve it. If some of us fail to reach our potential it makes us no less valid. Just by living we have made our mark. The message is that we "May" , not we "Should" or we "Must".
I read a lot - and this is the most human novel that I have ever read - and the most forgiving. It is that forgiveness that inspires me.
am 13. Juli 2007
"When June comes the grasses headed out and turned brown and the hills turned a brown which was not quite brown but a gold and saffron and red, an indescribable colour."
With a colorful set of characters this book will be a treat for all readers who love fat books, and like reading about the human condition and mind.
In the East of Eden, John Steinbeck introduces us to the Trask family, a somewhat problematic unit of Adam and Charles Trask and their father Cyrus, who more or less set the ground for the destinies of the two boys. Find out what kind of destiny is in store for Cyrus's offspring; Cal and Aron, Adam's sons, in this well written novel based in California.
The Trask brothers will have a life like none other for they will prove different, and throughout this story we will be entertained by the people who surrounded this family; those who tried to make them appear as normal and tried too hard to accept them. We will also, meet those who knew too much about them and carried their secrets to their graves.
However at the source of this book is Cathy Ames who will be responsible for their good or bad future in an indirect way.
A page-turner that will keep you up all night. If you haven't read any other of John Steinbeck's books, please get your hands on The Grapes Of Wrath after this one. It is something to write home about.
Rewiiewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar(SUGAR-CANE 13/07/07)