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Showing 1-10 of 557 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,186 reviews
VINE VOICEon July 27, 2016
I recently reread this magnificent novel after many decades, and as is typical, it spoke to me in an entirely different manner than it did thirty or more years ago. At that time, I recall being shocked and yet fascinated by the many cultural differences between China and America.

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.
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on May 10, 2015
I am a well-read male, sixty-five years old. I have read perhaps a thousand books in my lifetime; some fiction, some non-fiction. I recall setting down The Good Earth as a teenager after turning the last page and thinking, “This is the greatest book I have ever read”.

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.
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on December 6, 2014
This probably is not a book I would have ever picked to read by myself but I am still finishing up all the Oprah Book Club books. I have to say that it was a very vivid account of how life would have been in China for that time period. This book totally captivated my attention. I always consider a book to be good if I don't want to put it down and that was the case with this book. It made me stop and think that the earth does provide us with life and some of these things we take for granted or completely forget. I thought the characters were well written as well as the relationships between each character. I really had a hard time reading through O Lan's part in the book. As an independent woman it was hard for me to read how she was treated by family, employers and eventually her husband. But in the end I feel that Wang Lung did appreciate all that she did and all that she sacrificed for their family. I can see why this book is viewed as a classic and I was pleasantly surprised to find out this is part of a trilogy so I will be reading those soon enough!
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on April 19, 2015
Very compelling and satisfying in its telling. Gratifying to discover this book I overlooked in my youth. Covers the life of a Chinese peasant farmer and his family - from poverty to extreme wealth, from youth to old age and death. It is rich in detail of life in rural China in the late 19th and early 20th century. Wang was a man passionate about the land he farmed who was on his own in sorting out the changing needs of his family, doing the best he knew how. He was a basically honest and moral man but as he made more money (sliver) from farming his expanding lands with hired laborers, his life became more complex. Women were considered inferior to men. He gave very little attention or thought to his wife who bore his three sons and a daughter, served them as a slave in all their needs, and without whom the family might not have survived a horrible famine. As the story evolves, Wang can afford a concubine and the wife and mother dies. Later the family moves to town to live in a palace-like house with many courts and grandly furnished rooms. Many woman slaves come to serve and care for the three sons and their growing families in their town house. Wang begins to yearn for and strive for peace as various family dramas and jealousies transpire. He only receives any peace as he is much older when he takes his second concubine who is sweet and serviceful out of gratitude for his protection and gentle way with her. She comforted Wang during his old age and death and remained devoted to his memory after death.
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on August 30, 2016
Several of my friends read this book in high School but it was never part of my curriculum. I was thrilled to find it on one of the Kindle Deal Days!
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.
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on March 27, 2017
This is a reread, or re-reread for me. It is set in rural China before the revolution, and follows the life of a farmer and his family. It's a wonderful character study that has universal appeal.
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on October 31, 2014
Over all it has good writing, I just felt the story was depressing through and through, and their wasn't a ending that left you feeling good.
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on July 6, 2016
One of the most beautiful novels I have ever read and will ever read.
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on March 16, 2017
I am a well-read male, sixty-five years old. I have read perhaps a thousand books in my lifetime; some fiction, some non-fiction.
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on August 27, 2016
I re-read this after 26 years and it was great all over again.
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