Booknotes : East of Eden

A book like this may never be written again or at least not for some centuries. We are far too meek to sprawl so authorially, to psychologize so boldly, but there are few pleasures greater than reading such an epic. Perhaps the characters are a shade too aware of their deepest feelings and motivations and the narrator impossibly aware, but despite these minor niggles I was mesmerized and charmed throughout its 600 pages.

It is Paradise Lost passed through the rough and rowdy ethos of the American West; there’s an infernal trinity, its Pandorian and Puritan soil, cross-stitched with brother struggle and the American virtues of Liberty and Individuality along with the American sins of Liberty and Individuality. And though it is easy to get lost in its scope, time passing in its true speed, but a breath, years flipped in a few pages, there are so many moments, beyond mere baubles, so many fully characters (Samuel Hamilton, Lee and that serpent Kate), rich in wisdom or a clarion wickedness, that I can’t but hope that when these timid first person narratives have run their course that our literary men and women will embrace the freedom at the heart of “timshel”.


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