Beautifully rich in writing, this epic novel tells the tale of man you'll love and hate, and love again. You'll feel for him as he struggles, cry with him as he despairs, and cheer with him as he triumphs. It's a good comment on the class system in place in China at the time, but also a comment on perseverance of spirit and integrity of character.
I hadn't read this book since 8th grade. Now, 25 years later, I read it again and weep with the beauty of this book. Love, tolerance, deception, greed, pride all flowing as poetry. If you haven't read this book since high school, you, now as an adult must re-read to truly appreciate what makes this book the classic it is.
You know, I've never lived on a farm - in fact I think I'd hate it - but I'm finding I love novels about farming and communing with land. They're very...(shudders) grounding. I really wish that weren't a pun, but it's the best word I know to describe it, and I suppose it helps explain the metaphor of spiritually settling things being described as grounding. The point is, I feel very settled at the moment.
Buck writes in a very stylized, almost awkward English that helps set the mood. It works, of course, in the subconscious expectation (at least I have) to hear about life in China in a stilted language, but it also evokes an almost biblical feeling, especially in her heavy use of repetition of the same words for the same things, over and over, and the repetition of phrases close together in a limited vocabulary.
Anyway, I don't want to spoil anything for anybody, but you're going to get Wang Lung, the simple farmer made good, and you're gonna get him warts and all, and you're gonna like him and you're gonna like him more and you're going to want things for him and you're gonna be sorry when the book ends.
And you're not going to be surprised that the book is called The Good Earth.
I read this book for a book club that I was participating in. I found it to be very thought-provoking, and a great choice for a book club. One particular topic of interest to discuss in our club after reading the book is the perception of and treatment of women in the time of the book vs today.
I read this book many years ago, probably for school. I really liked it then, so when it was chosen as an Oprah book and I saw it in the store I picked it up to glance through it. Imagine my surprise when I was drawn in from the first page and so I bought the book. It was a nice surprise to reread this classic book and enjoy it as much as I did.
The story of Wang Lung, a poor farmer, and his wife O-lan is set in the time of the last Emperor and moves up to the start of the People's Revolution. It is a story filled with drama, love, loyalty, betrayal, perseverance and more. We come to care about Wang and O-lan and their extended family as they struggle with famine, drought, flooding, plague and more and yet always persevere, until achieving success beyond their dreams. This book was published in 1931, yet it doesn't feel dated at all. I am very glad I chose to read this book again.
I first read this book when I was a teenager, and it still speaks to me today, 40 years later. Pearl Buck won the Pulitzer Prize for this novel of China long ago, its terrors, its passions, its rewards. Beautifully written novel.
This is a beautiful book that I wish I had read years ago. I look forward to reading his other novels as well. I loved reading about the Chinese history of classes and the protagonist's humble beginnings.
A wonderful story of China; but, more than that, a story of the lusts and passions of man. Wang Lung became that which he admired (a rich man) and lost the peace and goodness which the land gave to him.
I was really excited to read this book. I read it in High School and remembered it well. This is a moving classic story of Wang Lung and his self-less wife O-Lan. It sweeps across China and shows the the changes that have occured in the lives of the Chinese people in the last century. It was depressing and awful. Yet wonderful at the same time.
I read this book in high school (a VERY long time ago) and thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. This story is so rich and multi-layered as it describes life in rural China of years past. The storyline follows one family's life journey beginning with the central characters as young adults through the years as they become parents and grandparents. But their story represents all that is human: love, lust, greed, pride, compassion, understanding, respect, traditions, what is lasting and what is fleeting. It exposes and contrasts life in extreme poverty to the rich abundance and decadent indulgence of the extremely wealthy. A true classic.
Pearl S. Buck led an incredible life, and so much of that life shines through in her novels. The Good Earth is captivating not only for the story, but for the lush, rich language that is the hallmark of Pearl Buck's novels. Definitely worth a read...or two...or three...
My mom started asking me to read this book when I was in High School, I was reluctent to read it as she was facinated with asian countries and I was more interested in Europe. I finally read this book about 4 years ago and as it always goes I wish I would have followed her advice years ago. Go Mom! this is one of the best books I have ever read. Read it you will love it.
though more than 60 years have passed since this remarkable novel won the pulitzer prize,it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics.i can only write what i know,and i know nothing but china,having always lived there., wrote miss buck.the good earth she presents a graphic view of a china when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings for ordinary people.this moving , classic story of the honest farmer wang lung and his selfless wife o-lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occured in the lives of the chinese people during this century.nobel proze winner pearl s. buck traces the whole life cycle of life:its terrors, its passions,its ambitions and rewards.her brilliant novel- beloved by millions of readers-its universal tale of the destiny of man.
Excellent book. Like a lot of other folks, I read it in high school, i re-read it now, and it stands up pretty well. She wrote it in 1931, and she uses a King James Version Old Testament style of writing, starting a lot of paragraphs with conjunctions-type words (and, but, then, now). Since it is something of a moralistic tale (a lot of what an American would recognize as being valued American traits), it works.
It mostly takes place in Anhui province (the wife O-Lan comes from Shandong), covering a period from the main character's wedding day until his old age approximately 30 years later, I perused looking for hints, it would appear to start at around 1900, since about 10 years in they take a train to an unnamed city in the south, and there were very few lasting train lines before 1900. But then she wrote a sequel to this called "Sons", which took the family story many years further (from Buck's perspective, that would have been the future), so the dates are a little of a mystery. However, that isn't really the key focus of the book.
The excellent simplicity of this book, was wonderful. I belong to a book club and we really discussed how the simple life living off the earth and giving back to the earth can make you happy. Excellent book, a pleasure to read.
This was a book that was required reading for me in high school when I went back in 1969. Back then I thought this book was to high browed since had to be something required to read. Have found that her other books are more interesting now since have changed some of views about what is good and not.
The first part of this book is a wonderful depiction of a newly married poor man. He and his amazing wife are dedicated to their land and family, working hard together. The next part is gut wrenching as it shows terrible poverty and famine but the last part is worse as the reader witnesses how low humanity can get when wealth and lack of constructive activity are combined. The characters were happiest living a simple, honest life of labor on their bit of "good earth". Well worth reading for it's cultural perspective as well as it's lessons but it ends on a low note.
Parent info: I find it odd that this book was required high school reading since it's a bit sexually explicit.
I really loved this story and all the characters. I think my favorite part was how the story comes full circle, and I was also really moved by the struggle of this family as they are extremely poor when the novel starts, but with hard work and determination become a very wealthy family.
The story of a farmer and his selfless wife, The Good Earth draws the reader into the lives of ordinary Chinese people living prior to the twentieth century. Pearl Buck lived in China as both a child and as an adult. She has great empathy for the Chinese people and tells their stories beautifully and with great compassion.
This 1935 Pulitzer Prize winner is a good example of why we miss out on some fantastic reading if the only books we read are those that have been published recently!Written over 70 years ago, this novel begins a generation before the Chinese revolution and centers around the life of an impoverished peasant, Wang Lung and his attempts to rise above poverty and live a respectable life as a land-owner. As his story unfolds we feel like were invisible observers peeking over his shoulder as he goes about doing the things that people like him had been doing for centuries. We first meet him as he prepares to go into the village and bring home the slave woman who his father has arranged for him to marry. Were also shown what life was like for Chinese peasant women at that time a time when women were not allowed to walk alongside their husbands, and mothers were congratulated for bearing sons but criticized if the baby happened to be a girl in which case she was frequently killed, sold into slavery, or subjected to the painful prospect of having her feet bound which was still being done at that time (because tiny little feet were considered to be an asset especially when men were looking for concubines.) I found it interesting that while the major characters in this novel were vividly portrayed especially Wang Lung, O-Lan his wife, Lotus his Concubine and her slave Cuckoo, many of the others were very rarely even referred to by name even though they were equally important to the narrative and just as well developed. Children were spoken of as first son and second son, siblings were older brother and younger brother and characters often referred to each other as that one or the son of your fathers brother, rather than by name. In fact, several important characters in the novel remained nameless to the reader all the way through. It seemed to underscore the importance of kinship relationships and the strict social norms that revolved around them. And so we watch the events and circumstances of Wang-Lungs life unfold within the cultural context of the late 19th century, but at the same time we are being reminded that the major themes of the book courage and conviction, the will to survive, family responsibilities and conflicts, hard work and the love of the land are universal.
I liked this book even though it was sad in parts - it really made me think about how womens' lives are so different from mens' lives even in this day and age. This was very interesting reading and it was rich in the culture and history of China.
I found this old classic to be quite enlightening as when read by me as a teen, I don't think that I grasped its depth. But reading it as an adult has been a wonderful experience, although the book is very very long. For anyone who wishes to know how life was before our time here on this good/great earth, this would be a valuable learning experience plus get you to know what a wonderful writer Pearl Buck was.