It has been many years since I read John Steinbeck’s East of Eden (1952), an American classic. It is not for the timid reader. A novel of epic proportions, it tells a multi-generational story of love, hate, rivalry, betrayal, and forgiveness, all set in Steinbeck’s historic Salinas Valley, California.
In his Essays on East of Eden (1977), John Ditsky stated that according to Steinbeck’s third and last wife, Elaine, he considered it his magnum opus – his greatest novel. Steinbeck stated about East of Eden: “It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years.” He further claimed: “I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.”
Steinbeck modeled his characters after Adam and Eve, and Cain and Able. They are brutally real, and their struggles are timeless. This may be just the book you need to throw yourself into on a stormy January night.