A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors
To my shame, I have to admit that I never read any of John Steinbeck’s works. I know so many titles but somehow I passed by them and chose a different author.
Well, I am sorry now that it took me so many years to decide on picking up East of Eden. It is by far one of the best classic novels I have ever encountered and a true masterpiece.
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.
All characters are absolutely mesmerizing taking the reader deep into the most enduring themes of those times: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.
The desire of being loved and valued by a father is passed on from generation to generation in the Trask family. But Adam and his sons are held together as a family by the Chinese-American philosopher-servant Lee, who offers wisdom in the face of painful circumstances. Together the characters try to formulate personal paradises that can withstand the inevitable challenges of human existence, battling the contradiction between the desire to submit to God and tradition and the human need for self-realization and fulfillment.
On the other hand, the Hamilton family is led by the charismatic poet-patriarch Samuel Hamilton, an Irish immigrant who raises a large family through charm, ingenuity, and adaptability. They don’t have a fortune to sit on but Samuel and Liza’s strong and traditional marriage yields nine children. They act out the numerous possibilities of American life, some making money in business and advertising, some seeking love and home life, others failing utterly in their struggle to find meaning and clarity in the chaotic possibility of a new century.
This book has it all and I can say it is MUST READ in a lifetime for everyone