We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Good Earth | [Pearl S. Buck]

The Good Earth

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. 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.
Regular Price:$13.96
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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.

©1958 Pearl S. Buck; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A beautiful, beautiful book. At last we read, in the pages of a novel, of the real people of China." (Saturday Review)
"The Good Earth has style, power, coherence and a pervasive sense of dramatic reality." (New York Times Book Review)
"To read this story of Wang Lung is to be slowly and deeply purified; and when the last page is finished it is as if some significant part of one's own days were over." (Bookman)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2167 )
5 star
 (1175)
4 star
 (669)
3 star
 (238)
2 star
 (53)
1 star
 (32)
Overall
4.4 (1309 )
5 star
 (760)
4 star
 (360)
3 star
 (136)
2 star
 (41)
1 star
 (12)
Story
4.5 (1293 )
5 star
 (772)
4 star
 (389)
3 star
 (101)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (13)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 05-04-13
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 05-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    653
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    412
    197
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    127
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wealth as an Enemy of Traditional Values"

    I can vaguely recall "reading" this book as a sophomore or junior in high school and preparing a book report as a class assignment. However since that was several decades ago, before listening to this Audible book, I had no recollection of the substance of the book, so I enjoyed rediscovering it.

    The Good Earth is a simplistic story -- almost like a fable or analogy -- that remains applicable and can be instructive, even in this modern day and age. Wealth as a destroyer of traditional values, the cycle of nature ,and the oppression of women are three of the major themes of the book.

    There are lots of take aways, but one seems paramount and timely: when we are without wealth, we can be critical of the lifestyles, morality and culture of the wealthy; but when we become wealthy, it is easy to adopt those same lifestyles, moral codes and cultures. Interesting, the outcomes we observe for the wealthy are parallelled in our own experiences, and happiness is not among them.

    The narration of this audio-book is superb! Anthony Heald is simply wonderful. Pearl S. Buck's writing, somewhat barebones in terms of background and description, stands the test of time and warrants accolades.

    This is a great book!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-20-12
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-20-12 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4324
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    801
    764
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    801
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Classic Read"

    This book was written in 1931 as the first book in a trilogy. Peal Buck won the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 1932. She was also the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was born and raised in China of American parents. She was a professor at the University in Nanking when the Japanese attack. She kept trying to return to China but the communist government refused her.
    The other books in the trilogy are "Sons" and "A House Divided".
    This book is a tale of Wang Lung a Chinese farmer in old agrarian china. He survives drought, famine, floods, locust invasions, war and family problems. Though it all he manages to succeed in building his farm. Buck brings the story to life and paints a picture of China in the 1890's. Anthony Heald does a great job narrating the story. When you read this book you will understand why Buck is considered a master story teller. I am glad to see Audible offering her books and hope they will offer all of them.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan Liberty Township, OH, United States 07-05-12
    Jordan Liberty Township, OH, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perhaps the Pulitzer award was politically driven"

    Although the craftsmanship of the author was excellent, I was left feeling entirely underwhelmed and even a little empty after listening to this work. There was no deep character development and at that, the characters all seemed simple-minded and even base - quasi animal-like. And perhaps that was the message, that we are all just simple, base, primary needs driven creatures. Having said this, I actually doubt that Buck was trying to make that the main point of the work. And so, was the main thrust that the land is virtuous in some way? If that was her point, then she fell short of explaining why.

    I believe there's a chance that this work rose to its Pulitzer prize winning status due to political/sociological events going on at the time, i.e., the depression and class struggles. I doubt it's an accident that this work, extolling the virtues of farmers and portraying the wealthy as entirely negative entities, sold well during the 30's and ultimately was chosen in 1938 to win the Pulitzer.

    Anyway, I would like to say that the narration was EXCELLENT! Bravo to Anthony Heald!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Baton Rouge, LA, United States 08-15-09
    Andrea Baton Rouge, LA, United States 08-15-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Well and it is very good listening!"

    Anthony Heald does this gem of a story much justice! His voices are spot on, and it is magical the way the voice of Wang Lung gradually changes with his age. The narration is done with all the flavor, pathos and gentle humor that this marvelous book contains. The characters are gorgeously expressed, be they young or old men, quiet or clamorous women, or naughty or nice children. You will love this story and the storyteller equally!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Long Beach, CA, United States 05-26-08
    Susan Long Beach, CA, United States 05-26-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent!"

    Enjoyed this book very much. Excellent narrater and the story kept me interested every step of the way. I would recommend this book highly. Very excellent!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 United States 11-04-12
    Parola138 United States 11-04-12 Listener Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
    269
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    116
    94
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    26
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a classic, sort of..."

    Famous book. Ok, I get that. I do not regret having read it an there are some things I took away from it. However, I did not feel that it was such a great book that it should still be in print today. It shocked me how boring the characters were. You would find more challenging spirits in a Steinbeck or Hemingway novel. Overall, I felt it was a very boring story and I think people have to say its great because its a classic. That is me, reviewing this as an American under the scope of American culture. Maybe it really is this boring and joyless to be a Chinese farmer. These people are not deep by any sense. They could all die and you wouldn't care. To pop babies out and view them as property and view your women as property and pretty much do whatever the hell you please, that's how they live. As I said, I do not regret reading it and the narration was amazing. However, I don't see how this has stuck around so long. If this is how modern Chinese people think and feel, then its gotta suck to be Chinese.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 01-16-11
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 01-16-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    328
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "This is highly deserving of its Pulitzer prize"

    This book magnificently draws the reader into the story where there are numerous subplots -- all about the Chinese way of life at the turn of the century. The narrator does a wonderful job of the different vocalizations required -- I listened to it in a weekend -- I wish I could find another classic that was this excellent!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 03-30-14
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 03-30-14 Member Since 2014

    Rob Thomas

    HELPFUL VOTES
    286
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    64
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    34
    35
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Top notch narration. Fantastic story."

    I really enjoyed this throroughly-convincing rollercoaster of a book.

    And Anthony Heald's narration was perfect. He performed each character perfectly.

    I've been meaning to read this book since my sister recommended to me in the mid-1970s. So glad I finally did.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia San Diego, CA, United States 02-22-13
    Patricia San Diego, CA, United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful classic about rural China"

    This is a wonderful classic that brings you into the world of rural peasants in China at the turn of the 20th century when some things are beginning to modernize. I am going to go fairly deeply into the plot so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know more! Our hero, Wan Lung is a poor peasant farmer devoted to his land. Too poor to find a good bride, his aging father purchases a slave woman – O-Lan – from a wealthy family to be his bride. The couple is happy though silent with each other. O-Lan is a devoted worker in both the house and field and they prosper enough to buy some more land from the wealthy lords. O-Lan is fertile and they are blessed with sons and a daughter (daughters are considered slaves because they will eventually move into the house of another family). But their prosperity is halted by a terrible famine. They come near to starvation when they decide to migrate south to a big city just to survive. O-Lan gives birth to a dead daughter (or perhaps strangled) and the family sets out. They encounter the railroad for the first time. In the big city they struggle by begging and manual labor just to have enough to eat. The youngest child – a daughter – seems to never recover from the starvation and is mentally retarded but Wan Lung loves her and refuses to sell her to survive. When an instability arises the poor peasants storm a great house and Wan Lung and O-lan find enough valuables to let them go back to the land he loves so much and farm again and again he prospers. But when floods stop all work he becomes bored and spends time in the town at the tea houses and becomes mesmerized by a lovely prostitute named Lotus and eventually buys her to be his concubine. O-Lan is heartbroken but says almost nothing. The two women live tensely in the different sections of his house. O-Lan’s health is failing from hard labor and many pregnancies. She dies just after the eldest son takes a city wife who is more like Lotus than O-Lan herself. Wan Lung prospers and continues to buy more land. He becomes so rich that eventually he takes over the house of the wealthy family and can rent out his land for others to farm. His sons become educated and live like rich men with no attachment to the land except to take the money it brings in. Their wives fight and there is little peace in the house. Grandchildren continue to come. In his old age Wan Lung finds a lovely young slave girl and takes her to him causing more conflict. In his old age his sons run everything and Wan Lung stays with his slave girl and his retarded daughter whom he eventually entrusts to the slave girl. In the end he is very old and still loves his land but his greedy sons are talking about selling land as soon as he is gone.

    The writing is lovely, the characters real and easy to keep track of. For example, instead of confusing us with many Chinese names, she refers to the sons as eldest son, second son, etc., and the other relatives as uncle, etc.. This really helps. The reading is beautifully done. It is mesmerizing and I loved it.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 02-28-12
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 02-28-12 Member Since 2012

    Breesmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
    125
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    343
    150
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Countdown to Revolution"
    Would you listen to The Good Earth again? Why?

    Probably not. I greatly appreciated learning what the book had to teach me but it is a difficult book to read, at least for me it was, emotionally. I typically pick books to re-read which are enjoyable or comforting.


    What other book might you compare The Good Earth to and why?

    I recommend other readers try 'The Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China' by Jung Chang which continues the story of the Great China Cultural Revolution through the lives of three generations of women.

    'The Good Earth' reminds me also of an American classic, 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck which also takes place in the 1930's and is centered around around a man and his family relocating to enable them to survive.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scenes with the father and his first daughter---very touching scenes.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The wife's last days and her life.


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 118 results PREVIOUS12312NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.