Summary: 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.
Adam Trask came to California from the East to farm and raise his family on the new, rich land. But the birth of his twins, Cal and Aron, brings his wife to the brink of madness, and Adam is left alone to raise his boys to manhood. One boy thrives, nurtured by the love of all those around him; the other grows up in loneliness, enveloped by a mysterious darkness.
First published in 1952, East of Eden 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. A masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis. -- Penguin
For this month's meeting, we read two sections of the classic novel EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck. We will actually be reading Parts 3 and 4 for July. I think we agreed that we should have just read the entire book for June because none of us felt that it was a difficult read. In addition, it was difficult to talk about the book when we were only half-way done. We still managed to discuss it for a half hour or so; however, I was really worried that someone who had already finished the book might give away some spoilers. And since I'm really loving this novel, I don't want anyone to ruin it for me!
I think we all had a great time even though we didn't talk much about the novel. I know with all of the end-of-the-year activities, I definitely needed to kick back with a glass of wine and chat with some friends. Plus the food was too good -- our hostess went all out with brie with raspberry preserves, some dips, chips and crackers, chocolate chip cookies and pound cake with fresh berries. It's a good thing I came hungry!
I'm really excited about finishing EAST OF EDEN, although I'm torn about whether I should read it sooner rather than later. If I read it now, I'm afraid I'll forget it in a month; but if I read it closer to our next meeting, I'm worried that I'll forget what I've already read! Such a dilemma!