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The Good Earth (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – September 15, 2004
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"The New York Times" A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe.
"Boston Transcript" One need never have lived in China or know anything about the Chinese to understand it or respond to its appeal.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of the cyclical nature of life, of the passions and desires that motivate a human being, of good and evil, and of the desire to survive and thrive against great odds. It begins with the story of an illiterate, poor, peasant farmer, Wang Lung, who ventures from the rural countryside and goes to town to the great house of Hwang to obtain a bride from those among the rank of slave. There, he is given the slave O-lan as his bride.
Selfless, hardworking, and a bearer of sons, the plain-faced O-lan supports Wang Lung's veneration of the land and his desire to acquire more land. She stays with him through thick and thin, through famine and very lean times, working alongside him on the land, making great sacrifices, and raising his children. As a family, they weather the tumultuousness of pre-revolutionary China in the 1920s, only to find themselves the recipient of riches beyond their dreams. At the first opportunity, they buy land from the great house of Hwang, whose expenses appear to be exceeding their income.
With the passing of time, Wang Lung buys more and more land from the house of Hwang, until he owns it all, as his veneration of the land is always paramount.Read more ›
What I love most about this book is that it shows the Westerners what life was REALLY like in rural China at the turn of the century instead of the usual stereotype or common cliche. In that sense, Pearl Buck was more Chinese than Chinese, for Amy Tan, Dai SiJie and the alike are just commercial writers in my opinion, who more or less only wrote what they thought would sell.
The book itself is certainly well written too. It's as if walking through a living museum of the past and one could vividly envision what Wang Lung and O-Lan had gone through as the story unfolds. Pearl Buck used simple yet powerful narrative language in which I felt Wang Lung's pain, suffering, ambition, agony, pride and all sorts of emotions and couldn't help but empathized with him as a human being.
There are also small things that delighted me in Perl Buck's writing. To name just one, she had faithfully translated the characters' dialogs into English and I have to say you can't get more authentic than that. For example, she used moon for month, old head for old man, etc., and those are exactly how we say in Chinese, literally.
It's a pity that neither in the US nor in China Pearl Buck is recognized or respected as much as she should have been. Though I went to Nanjing University where Pearl Buck had taught for years in China, little have I heard of her until just now, after finishing the Good Earth.Read more ›
Wang Lung and his family's journey through life serves as a passage we all can travel through and come away better people for having done it. His wife O-lan represented such great strength, and I hurt when I knew she was hurting from the actions of her husband but was unable to show it. Her life went the way of so many women's lives, unfulfilled and short-changed. Likewise, I hurt when Wang Lung hurt. I felt his confusion, guilt, stubbornness, etc. These are brilliantly crafted people that I am honored to have met.
I totally understand why this book transcends space and time. Over 30 years after her death, Pearl S. Buck's legacy is still changing people for the better....thank God for good storytelling.
These questions are addressed in Pearl Buck's moving and exquisitely written Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, "The Good Earth." It is the story of a simple Chinese peasant, Wang Lung. We first meet him as a young man on his way to pick up his bride, whom he has purchased from the estate of a wealthy landowner.
Wang Lung is a farmer, barely able to survive, but it is time for him to marry and produce a grandchild for his aged father, who lives in his simple farm hut and is shown great reverence, as was the way in China at the time.
The only way that Wang Lung could afford a wife at all, and a virgin, which was highly desired, was to purchase an ugly female slave from the great house. All of the pretty slave women were defiled by the master and his sons early on; O-lan was so ugly that she was spared. Harsh? Evil? Yes. But the story is told with such simplicity, from the viewpoint of Wang Lung, who knows no other life. Which is one of Buck's points: the simple Chinese peasant, struggling to survive, had no wherewithal to stand back and say, "I should not be buying an undefiled slave from a corrupt landowner who keeps me in virtual slavery as well." It just didn't happen that way.
O-Lan turns out to be the perfect farmer's wife, hardworking, efficient, and, it turns out, wonderfully fertile. The scene where the young woman painfully gives birth in the field during harvest time and then goes back to work without missing a beat is almost a cliche by now.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Disclaimer: This review is only for the first half portion of the book.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. Read more
China before the revolution.
The Good Earth chronicles the life of Wang Lung, a flawed protagonist, from peasantry to riches. Read more
In fact very good...exceptional storytelling.
One can easily see why Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth” is an American classic and a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel from 1931. Read more
An extremely well written story with well developed characters. Most interesting and beautifully written story.Published 21 days ago by Julie Macdonald
Pearl Buck takes you inside the lives of Chinese people with great compassion and understanding.Published 21 days ago by artquinn
Pearl Buck was a great in visionary. Interesting book easy flowing. The history was an added plus. I would recommend it to anyone.Published 24 days ago by christa york