The Good Earth

The Good Earth

Book - 2004
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Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck's epic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Oprah Book Club selection about a vanished China and one family's shifting fortunes.

Though more than seventy years have passed since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer Prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics. In The Good Earth Pearl S. Buck paints an indelible portrait of China in the 1920s, when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings. 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 occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during the last century.

Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel--beloved by millions of readers--is a universal tale of an ordinary family caught in the tide of history.
Publisher: New York, N.Y., : Washington Square Press, 2004.
ISBN: 9780743272933
Characteristics: 357 p. ; 21 cm.


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Aug 30, 2020

It is like stopping your normal suburban working life and digging your hands in the soil to touch normal life again. Refreshing, taking you back to the essence of life; simple and eaw.

Jul 02, 2020

Hated it.
I guess the story made a big splash because it concerns people about whom so very little was known in America in the 1930s, and the story was told with warmth and compassion.
It's the same-old same-old story of wealth making for short-term personal gain leaving hordes of people not only disenfranchised but starving.
Even when a starving disenfranchised guy works hard and becomes wealthy - because a wealthy man was afraid he'd murder him, and gave him the dregs of his massive cache jewelry not to hurt him - Wang Lung still has no recognition of others' misery.
The guy is so stupid he doesn't even know his wife would like to be loved.
The guy is so stupid that he doesn't even understand that his young adult son is wanting sex.
Stupid and greedy.
But so kind.
Makes me sick.
This kind of sentimentality is keeping the wealthy 1% tightly in their place at the top of the world. All poor people have to be is hard working and thrifty and they too can be wealthy. 'Hard-working' seems to equate with no drinking. drugging or brotheling - until after he's wealthy. And then he was too stupid to know that a tea house was a brothel.
- Not to mention a sick culture who calls their daughters not by the word 'daughter,' but commonly refers to 'sons and slaves.' I could find no information on how accurate Buck's portrayal of Chinese culture in the 1930s is.
I find this story of Buck's to be a real demonstration of how the wealthy whites like Buck interpreted and still interpret the world around themselves. Buck's minister father certainly had a household that was wealthy and educated, compared to the masses then (and now).
In the information/criticism/reviews about this title that I could find online, all I could find was the pap about a poor 'hard working' farmer that 'made good,' in the midst of great hardship.

May 07, 2020

This one the Pulitzer. Must've been a slow year.

Mar 27, 2019

This book gives interesting, sometimes shocking insights about the live in pre-Revolutionary China, however all but one characters are so unlovable, petty, angry, shallow, greedy etc that I found finishing this book difficult. A negative message is not necessarily a wise message....If you want to reinforce a misanthrope inside, this is a good choice!

Feb 04, 2019

Brilliantly written! Very engaging. Great description of the farmers and the culture of the China of the early 20th Century!

Oct 12, 2017 I loved this book. I thought about it whenever I was not reading and dreamt of it while I was asleep. The characters are rich, and the Earth, Oh, The Good can feel, smell and taste of it while you read her beautiful sentences. How sweetly I was surprised to know it was book one of three. I can hardly wait to continue the story.

May 20, 2017

The fact that this is a very readable, fascinating, enjoyable book stands out very soon. There is so much missing in Western education, at least mine, that there is always something I was not aware of or unusual people. For example, I learned that there were rich farmers, and that they also had Chinese slaves. Among the rich, as far as I understood, a family becomes larger with relatives, personal relationships and slaves. I have read other Chines history, for example, Cixi the last empress of China, but in none did I “get down into the dirt” so closely to the land and people. I highly recommend reading this book for both the entertainment and historical values.

Oct 31, 2016

It was a pleasure to read. I haven't read a good novel in a while. O-Lan was my favorite character. I was hoping for her to play a bigger, major role. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Sep 04, 2016

This book has themes that really resonated with me as I was reading it, such as the power of hard work, the importance of family, the sin of complacency, laziness and greed, and the natural tendency of people to move towards ruin. I feel like I missed the main point of O-Lan's character, but I think this is a book that anyone can enjoy!

Dec 15, 2015

Beautifully written book; the story and characters are so compelling, I hardly came up for air. I will be haunted by O-Lan for a long time. I loved all of the details of daily life (especially the food) that were woven so skillfully into the story, must read more by the author.

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Nov 10, 2008

An interesting fictional account of ancient China, the struggles of a family trying to survive through famine, and cultural ideologies. Enjoyable read, sad at times.


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