Date started: 06/23/15
Date finished: 07/26/15
This thick book intimidated me at first. However, I was mistaken because the story inside is rich and abundant with love and at the same time hatred.
John Steinbeck claimed this as his first novel. It is a modern retelling of the famous Bible story about Cain and Abel.
The novel started with presenting the roots of the twins, Caleb and Aron, the Cain and Abel of the story. Their father Adam Trask, was forced into the army by his father Cyrus. He loved his brother Charles but his brother was deceptive and self-centered so they parted ways. Adam met Cathy one day, when Cathy was found dying on the Trask’s front porch. Adam fell in love with the girl right away without knowing her background. Cathy’s personality was dark and no one could quite comprehend why she do what she does. After giving birth to the twins, Cathy left Adam alone and bleeding (she shot him in the shoulder).
The boys grew up with the help of Lee (their wise Chinese servant) and Samuel Hamilton (the contentious Irish man who was known for his knowledge and sunny disposition). Samuel Hamilton was the one who had to literally knock Adam Trask out of his wits and wake him up. After Samuel’s death, Adam got himself together and brought the boys up in the city.
The twins were different. Caleb or Cal grew smart and brooding while Aron was sweet and loved by everyone. Cal longed for the love of his father because Aron was favored more. Aron grew smarter and was conscious of what people said about him. Both of them fell in love with the same girl, Abra. Abra wise for her own age patiently waited on Aron but when he left for the army, she felt free with Cal. Cal worked hard to feel his father’s love and only got his blessing and forgiveness at the end of the story. As for their mother, Cathy who called herself Kate after running away, took over the whore house but when she was inches close to being found out, she killed herself and left all her belongings to Aron.
Knowing the Bible story, I found a lot of similarities and also a good incorporation of the famous story. The famous line, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is also found there. I would say, this thick piece of literature is one of the best I have ever read. I am now adding Steinbeck to my favorite authors of all time. It is simply the best. So rich and family-oriented! A MUST READ!