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The Good Earth (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – Unabridged, September 15, 2004
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About the Author
Pearl S. Buck was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. 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. 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. 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
This book was riveting from the first page. I was dismayed at the handling of the Olan character because to me, she was clearly the hero of the story. But to praise a woman so highly would not have been in keeping with the time and setting.
This was a very pleasant read. Highly recommended for any ago group 12+ yr old. It is by no means a children's book but is not inappropriate fro young people.
This time, I noted the similarities between Buck’s characters and those in American novels. While people might eat diverse foods, wear unusual clothes, worship different deities, and have radically opposing views on filial responsibilities, all humans are similar “under the skin.” We love, strive, hope, dream, fear, envy, and pass through cycles of life in amazingly similar and predictable ways.
Wang Lung, at one time a poor farmer, becomes a wealthy landowner and father of sons and grandsons. He has daughters too, but they, except for the “poor fool,” don’t figure largely in his culture…nor in the novel. Throughout the better part of his life, O-lan, his wife whom he bought from the House of Hwang, is his steady, hard-working partner who is responsible for much of his success. Not until her sickness and subsequent death does Wang Lung realize her worth. O-lan remains my favorite character, and I'm glad her husband felt remorse about giving her two precious pearls to his mistress, Lotus.
What I admire about this book is Pearl Buck’s ability to describe characters, scenes, emotions, sensations, family drama, culture, and life’s cycles in a vivid, stirring manner. She even manages to weave in the seven deadly sins so cunningly that the reader doesn’t even realize it at first. I must admit that I wasn’t sorry to see Lotus succumb to gluttony but was saddened to see Wang Lung give in to lust, pride, and sometimes anger. But then, these are people, humans like the rest of us.