This compelling tale follows the lives of two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, as they settle in California. Samuel Hamilton moves with his wife, Liza, to the Salinas Valley, and the Hamiltons eventually become a prominent family in the region. Adam Trask, meanwhile, settles in the valley with his pregnant wife Cathy, and becomes friends with Sam Hamilton. Adam is first introduced in a long flashback, while Cathy’s past is revealed as a parallel story. Adam and Cathy give birth to twin sons, Cal and Aron. The second half of East of Eden deals with the struggles of the twin boys.
Set in the Salinas Valley, the story folds in pieces of the author’s own family history, intertwined with the history of Salinas. The real underlying framework for the novel comes from biblical allegory, especially the story of Cain and Abel from Genesis. Read it for its twists and turns. Great book!