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A House Divided (Oriental Novels of Pearl S. Buck) Paperback – January 1, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
Book 3 of 6 in the Good Earth Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews


A House Divided is built around China in revolution and the conflict between the young and old generations…..a rich and illuminating book.
—The New York Times

"The House of Earth trilogy, which starts with THE GOOD EARTH, is Buck’s powerful portrayal of early twentieth-century China. This book ends the trilogy with the story of Wang Yuan, the grandson of the couple in the first book. The book stands on its own but would certainly be more meaningful after hearing the first two books. Yuan represents a young man of privilege as the Chinese culture is transforming due to the Western influences and political events of the 1930s. Adam Verner uses a clipped accent for the speech of the Chinese characters; for the character of Yuan he makes that accent a bit stronger. Further, he delivers Yuan’s convictions as if they were his own. As a narrator, Verner sounds fully engaged in the story’s events and the questions it poses." 
J.E.M. © AudioFile Portland, Maine
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia and taken to China as an infant before the turn of the century. Buck grew up speaking Chinese as well as English. She is the most widely translated American author to this day. She has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. She died in 1973.

Product Details

  • Series: Oriental Novels of Pearl S. Buck (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Moyer Bell and its subsidiaries; 1 edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559210346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559210348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Her parents were Southern Presbyterian missionaries, most often stationed in China, and from childhood, Pearl spoke both English and Chinese. She returned to China shortly after graduation from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1914, and the following year, she met a young agricultural economist named John Lossing Buck. They married in 1917, and immediately moved to Nanhsuchou in rural Anhwei province. In this impoverished community, Pearl Buck gathered the material that she would later use in The Good Earth and other stories of China.
Pearl began to publish stories and essays in the 1920s, in magazines such as The Nation, The Chinese Recorder, Asia, and The Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published by the John Day Company in 1930. John Day's publisher, Richard Walsh, would eventually become Pearl's second husband, in 1935, after both received divorces.

In 1931, John Day published Pearl's second novel, The Good Earth. This became the bestselling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and would be adapted as a major MGM film in 1937. Other novels and books of nonfiction quickly followed. In 1938, less than a decade after her first book had appeared, Pearl won the Nobel Prize in literature, the first American woman to do so. By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl had published more than seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biography and autobiography, poetry, drama, children's literature, and translations from the Chinese. She is buried at Green Hills Farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would say that this book could certainly stand alone simply because there was so much happening in this turbulent setting of the revolution. In many ways "A House Divided" was my favorite of the "House of Earth" trilogy, (still, The Good Earth was beautiful!) because it was an adventure that spanned the globe. Yet there was no lack in telling how the main character evolved emotionally and intellectually from the first page to the last.
Many times throughout the book, Pearl Buck successfully showed how Yuan's world was filled with black and white; no grey. For example, a person was expected to be 100% revolutionary, or a 100% traditionalist. Or one had to be 100% Chinese, or 100% foreign. Yuan was a very conflicted man from the start and struggled with these issues pretty much until the end. To me that was the most intriguing part.
I was fascinated with Yuan's six-year stay in America. He experienced racism first-hand, the confusion of living in another country, trying to assimilate, seeing and appreciating the beauty of the country and the friendliness and openness of some of its people, the freedom to pursue one's happiness and potential, but clearly his own traditions and culture prevented him from fully accepting the foreigners into his heart.
I think the author gave some real insight into the minds of people living during the revolution. Many people, like Yuan's cousin, Meng, were fevently passionate about it. It was clear that it took a certain kind of person, with a linear, unwavering focus in order to hasten a violent change. In this case, that meant one had to be filled with anger and hatred.
Also through Yuan, we were exposed to the hypocrisy of the revolution as well.
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Format: Paperback
I would have ranked this book five-star, if the ending had not been so abrupt and unrealistic.
A House Divided is a novel with many good contrasts in its themes. Certainly, in almost all Pearl's novels, there is the contrast of the East and the West. Then there comes the comparison of the different generations. In addition, the conflict of the old and the new ideas is also successfully portrayed. People from different class have very difficult behaviours. Throughout the story, the book focuses more on "The rich have the rich's things to worry," a sentence in the first Volume of the Good Earth.
Characters are three-dimensional. Their behaviours are most of the time Chinese-like, though we have to accept the fact that Pearl has been influenced greatly by western romancism love tremendously, being an American herself. I would like to praise the part of the story in which Yuan goes to America to study. I think it is very faithfully written. Perhaps one of the reasons why I prefer this book to its first volume "The Good Earth" is because A House Divided is closer to my life ---- I am a teenager who is studying in a foreign country alone. That is what Literature is all about ---- our life. I truly have reflected upon all the difficulties Yuan has faced during his American studying, and it matches my situation well.
If you are a reader who is very interested in Chinese culture, this book is definitely a good choice for you. It has helped me to understand my home country -- China better too. I indeed am surprised by the good work of Pearl Buck. She has indeed shown the West the East well.
The story ends in the near-death time of Yuan's father, the Tiger who has treated Yuan extremely well despite his bad temper.
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Format: Paperback
The final book in the House of Earth trilogy was my least favorite and most disconnected of the three. She jumps into the third generation and third book with not a whole lot of background or character development (except for Yuan), so I cared the least about the characters, their situations and trials. The story was interesting, but I found that I could not relate as well to the characters or understand their plight. But I think she did a marvelous job at showing the differences between the generations and how exposure to new ideas, cultures and technology can quickly change the traditions of a culture; sometimes the change is good and beneficial, sometimes it's detrimental. I also like how she juxtiposed Yuan, who tries to hold on to his tradition and country and resists change, to other family members who embraced the change with all their hearts. I think that The Good Earth is a brillant read, but if you missed the next two in the trilogy it wouldn't be a tragedy.
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By A Customer on September 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This third book in The Good Earth series was somewhat a slower read the the previous two. However, the story was wonderful, and despite the ending, which some might find unrealistic, I enjoyed it. I was so pleased that Yuan found happiness, acceptance and love.
I found the themes of the book relevant today in that our culture, ideas, lifestyles, and the influence and relationships with our children, effect their lives and influence future choices.
Yaun was deeply loved by the Tiger, however, was not free to grow into an individual. This somewhat stunted Yuan emotionally, and he found himself in constant conflict over the ideas of his father and the new China. His time in America began to mature Yuan. It allowed him to return home to begin his journey into manhood and make choices about his future. However, although he now had choices, he was still duty bound to his family by a debt incurred by the Tiger.
The book was wonderful and I am sorry to see the Good Earth series end.
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