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The Good Earth (Enriched Classics) Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2001
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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.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette One of the most important and revealing novels of our time.
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
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.
Top customer reviews
There is such a close relationship between man and land that we have forgotten in our everyday lives.
The only thing I take issue is, the book sets up the wrong expectations of what a "good woman is". How can O Lan be an accurate portrayal of what the women of those times were like? She is like a superwoman to a ridiculous extent. Giving birth and going back to till the land, plus cooking dinner, all in the same afternoon?!!
The plot is also somewhat depressing. In the end, wealth cannot buy happiness. And a woman can be perfect, but if she has big feet and is not good at conversation, somehow, men still go for the coquettish types who can sweet-talk?
I purchased The Good Earth on Kindle recently because it was $3.00 and I recalled it having an effect on me. It moved me as it did fifty years before. It is simply, and yet powerfully written, stirring the same emotions in me as it did before. As I re-read it, I kept reminding myself “This is just fiction about Chinese peasants”. But it is far more than that. Much as Shakespeare transcends the sixteenth century to tell stories about people, so Pearl S. Buck transcends the foreign mores and privation of turn-of-the-twentienth century China in telling her spellbinding story.
This may still be the best book I have ever read. The Good Earth was then, and remains now, a classic of English literature.
There is nothing sugar-coated in the images provided by Pearl Buck. The author gives names and faces to Chinese people and provided an honest, human view of life. Without question, this work by the author caused many Americans to come to the aid of China as it was assaulted by the immoral and inhuman forces of the Empire of Japan beginning in 1931. I recommend this haunting book to everyone with some sense of decency and historical reality.
now - have to find out what happens to this family. I can see why Ms Pearl S. Buck won the Nobel Prize for Literature --first American Woman -