Currently Reading: East of Eden
In the Salinas Valley at the turn of the twentieth century, Sam Hamilton comes from Ireland and settles down on a ranch to raise his family. Across the country in Connecticut, Adam Trask is living with his brother when a nearly beaten-to-death woman knocks on his door and changes his life.
Sam and Adam become unlikely friends when Adam and Cathy, his new wife, move to the Valley. Sam is a bright but poor man, while Adam is rich and unknowing. While Sam helps Adam set up his land with rich gardens, deep wells, and planted seeds for crops, Adam doesn't see how much Cathy, who has her own dark past, hates their life.
This novel is multi-faceted, rich, and paints a stunning picture of a fertile valley full of possibility. Steinbeck is a celebrated writer and for good reason. He manages to weave together complicated family narratives with each character being fully fleshed out.
I hadn't read Steinbeck since high school (Of Mice and Men), so when I came across this book in a 'free' pile outside a townhouse, I grabbed it. There is much more sex and murder than I would've expected, but everything has its place and furthers the story.
I still have a bit left, but am really enjoying this classic American novel, even outside of a high school English class.