John Steinbeck's last significant work of fiction (1952), a huge family saga based on the book of Genesis, is set in the Salinas Valley of the author's youth. Beginning with the purchase of a parcel of rich California farmland by Samuel Hamilton, who comes from Ireland with his wife, EAST OF EDEN traces the turbulent lives of the Hamilton and Trask families from the Civil War to the end of World War I. Adam Trask marries a prostitute who bears him twin sons--the Cain and Abel figures--and their rivalry shadows the second half of the novel, culminating in tragedy. Steinbeck had hoped to revive his failing career with this epic work, but though a best-seller, EAST OF EDEN was not well received by critics. However, because of its epic sweep and dramatic story, as well as its function as a virtual history of the Salinas Valley, the book has endured as an American classic. It was made into a memorable movie in 1955, directed by Elia Kazan and starring James Dean.
Height: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.8
Format: PB-2002-Centennial Ed.
Weight: 2 lbs.
SOG: Very good, book tight, no tears, no markings
"Probably the best of John Steinbeck's novels, 'East of Eden' is long but not 'big', and anyone who, deceived by its spread in space and time (c.1860-1920), says that it is 'epical in its sweep,' is merely in the usual grip of cliche....Through the exercise of a really rather remarkable freedom of his rights as a novelist, Mr. Steinbeck weaves in, and more particularly around, this story of prostititution a fantasia of history and of myth that results in a strange and original work of art."
New York Times Book Review - Mark Schorer (09/21/1952)
"As soon as he tries to see adult experience in the usual way and to find the familiar kind of moral in it, [his] insight and talent cease to work and he writes like the author of any third-rate best-seller."
New Republic - Arthur Mizener (10/06/1952)