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The Good Earth (Blackstone Audio Classic Collection) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,110 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Good Earth Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe.'' --New York Times

''The Good Earth has style, power, coherence, and a pervasive sense of dramatic reality.'' --New York Times Book Review

''A beautiful, beautiful book. At last we read, in the pages of a novel, of the real people of China.'' --Saturday Review

''One need never have lived in China or know anything about the Chinese to understand it or respond to its appeal.'' --Boston Transcript

''One of the most important and revealing novels of our time.'' --Pittsburgh Post Gazette

''To read this story of Wang Lung is to be slowly and deeply purified; and when the last page is finished it is as if some significant part of one's own days were over.'' --Bookman

''[Audiobook Narrator] Heald's beguiling voice is used to great effect in his impressive reading of this 1932 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel...Heald does not attempt a Chinese accent in his reading of this classic. Instead, he softly eases into tonal shifts...His wise decision not to force a false sound into his reading allows listeners to fully enjoy and luxuriate in the lovely cadence of the narration. A beautiful writer, Buck is a master at controlling the narrative while spinning out delicate and sublime sentences. Heald reads them perfectly, doing what should be done with all literary classics produced in audio format letting the words take over so that listeners experience the text in a way so profound that they easily immerse themselves into the plot and fall under the writer's spell. Heald's fabulous reading is a great achievement, and his subtle changes in tone and inflection to indicate wizened old men and others of varying ages add authenticity to this timeless story. An essential purchase for well-rounded audio collections.'' --Booklist (Editor's Choice 2007)

''With the first chapter, a wonderful rendition of a time-honored story begins. Anthony Heald captures Buck's commentary on the human condition with a humble tone that matches the poignant life of Wang Lung and his wife, Olan, as they eke out a living in rural China. Heald's performance pays homage to the novel's historical integrity in its detailed account of the Boxer Rebellion and its aftermath. This is an outstanding production of Buck's most famous work.'' --AudioFile

About the Author

PEARL S. BUCK was born in West Virginia and taken to China before the turn of the century. She began writing while in China and published her first novel shortly after returning to the United States. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for The Good Earth and the Noble Prize in Literature in 1938.

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (July 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433204096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433204098
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,376,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This 1932 Pulitzer Prize winning novel is still a standout today. Deceptive in its simplicity, it is a story built around a flawed human being and a teetering socio-economic system, as well as one that is layered with profound themes. The cadence of the author's writing is also of note, as it rhythmically lends itself to the telling of the story, giving it a very distinct voice. No doubt the author's writing style was influenced by her own immersion in Chinese culture, as she grew up and lived in China, the daughter of missionaries.

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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
While reading this book, I was totally struck by the honest and compassionate way Pearl Buck told her story. Born and raised in China, I can see my great grandparents in Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan, although in the end they didn't make it to the riches but stayed in the middle class among farmers and had put all their kids through schools which was the first ever in their village.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every soul that has the ability to read should absorb this book! These are the lessons we all encounter at some point in our lives.

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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When great political upheaval occurs, do the "ordinary people" even know about it? How does it affect their lives? Is social change something palpable, or only something one can see in retrospect?

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.
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