by John Steinbeck

First things first: This is a long one… but oh so worth it! Here’s the summary (or at least part of it) from the book side panel:

“…Set in the rich farmland of California,’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwining destinies of two families–the Trasks and the Hamiltons–whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry between 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.

…[Steinbeck] explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence.”

I read it a few years ago. Now, with summer just around the corner, I was browsing my shelves for some of the new books I have waiting to be read. As soon as I set eyes on East of Eden, I felt a rush of emotions remembering everything I thought and felt when I first got a hold of this novel.

The characters are so well written, they feel absolutely real, even the best and worst of the lot, which are usually the characters that are overshot. That’s the best recommendation for this book.