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East of Eden by John Steinbeck **** (of 4)

A retelling of the stories of Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel transposed to three generations of two families living mostly in Salinas, California during the turn of the nineteenth century.  Steinbeck, with good reason, won the Nobel Prize for this book.  It contains a complete geography of place, mind, and character:  Not a falling leaf, nor a raised eyebrow escapes his notice and his recounting makes every leaf and eyebrow unflaggingly important for six hundred pages.  Particularly interesting to me, is that the crux of the story hinges on a Jewish analysis of Genesis (related to readers from the original Hebrew by a Chinese protagonist) and how that contrasts with English translations used by Christians. Hoo Ha. An unbelievably excellent read. June 2006.