The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


Reviewed by Marianne
from Let's Read 

The first volume in the "Good Earth Trilogy", the second one is "Sons", the third "A House Divided".

I absolutely love this book. Pearl S. Buck was my first "grown up" author, I read all the books our little village library had.

The description of all sorts of people in pre-revolutionary China is really interesting, Pearl S. Buck manages to describe every single person and event so vividly, you feel like you're almost there.

We lead a very different life today and I'm grateful for that. It was a hard life back then, especially for women who were considered a burden to their families and often sold when they didn't have enough money.

Wang Lung, the protagonist of the story, manages to get very rich through the land he buys. He owes all this to his wife who used to be a slave. But he doesn't really recognize this and leads a life any male would lead at the time. I cannot really judge him for that because he didn't know any better. I feel sorry for his wife, O-Lan, though for whom life was one big misery.

From the back cover: "This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

Find other books by Pearl S. Book that I read here.

Pearl S. Buck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938 "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces" and the Pulitzer Prize for "The Good Earth" in 1932. 

Read my other reviews of the Nobel Prize winners for Literature.  

Original Post on "Let's Read".

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