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.
"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)
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!
Even though this book was written over 80 years ago, there are certain underlying themes, dreams, and events that remain true today.......the more things change, the more they remain the same.
A man of humble beginnings raises a family and rises in wealth and power, only to watch his sons abandon the family business when he grows older and longs for nothing more than peace in his home. The family business is owning land and farming, the home includes not just a wife and children, but a concubine and servants, and there are other particulars specific to the time and place (rural China early 1900s), but it's all still about recognizable hopes and dreams.
Yes, the pacing is slow, but I'm pretty sure life was slow in rural China in the early 1900s, so that's appropriate. It helps to set the tone and feeling for Wang Lung's life and times. Yes, there are prejudices on class and gender lines, but that's also appropriate for the times. This was a slow, subtle road that was, in the end, ultimately very worthwhile.
The narration was wonderful. This is the second audiobook I've heard by Anthony Heald, and he's done a great job each time.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Listening to this book, now, as I near 60 years old, is such a different experience than reading it in high school in the early 70s. When one is very young, one THINKS that one may be wise, when one is old, if one is blessed, one KNOWS better. The Good Earth is written very simply, but it's far from simple. My heart kept begging Wang Lung to be MORE than his wayward soul . . . to stay true to the good earth . . . to love what is pure . . . to be who he was as a young man. The age old proverbs of men and wealth seem to hold true in all societies. The Good Earth should still be on the reading lists for middle/high school students, along with discussion groups and essays. For there is still much to be gleened from it's pages.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook narrated by Anthony Heald. He could very well become a favorite of mine. I was surprised when I learned he was Dr Chilton from Silence of the Lambs. He didn't just read the book, but added inflection to each word.
I read The Good Earth as a requirement when I went to school but didn't remember a thing about it. It was a new and pleasant discovery to read it again.
The book is a rich portrait of culture of the Chinese people. It followed the life of Wang Lung, a poor farmer from working his land and the good life it brought him. It described times of abject poverty and near starvation to wealth and prestige. The story demonstrates how money and wealth can make one forget his/her humble beginnings. It also reflects on the struggle to pass on one's morals and ethics to children.
While I enjoyed this first book in a trilogy, I don't think I will read the other two - Sons and A House Divided. I was engaged with Wang Lung's life but never cared enough about his children to continue on with their stories. But, you never know. I could change my mind.
I'll admit this is well written and the narration is good but about a quarter of the way through I started to really dislike the main character. I listened all the way through and liked him less and less. By the end I was glad to be done with him. An interesting look a pre-communist China but I wouldn't listen to it again.
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!
I've been working my way through some of Western culture's "classic" literature and have enjoyed many of them. Some I disliked so much I didn't finish them. I did enjoy this performance, and I enjoyed many aspects of the book. I did struggle with a general dislike of pretty much every character however. I kept waiting for the lead character to grow and change but he did not. I'm guessing it's a combination of cultural differences and literary tastes from the early part of the 20th century. I didn't like any characters in the Great Gatsby either and certainly there isn't anyone likeable in Atlas Shrugged. Having listened to this book soon after the Grapes of Wrath, it was difficult not to compare the two, with the Grapes of Wrath being the clear winner. Still, I am glad I made the effort. The narration is very good and I'll be looking for other books done by this narrator.
I love learning, teaching, and exploring!
I did not realize that this book was part of a trilogy. This book was a little bit slow to get into but it unfolded to become a lovely story about a man throughout transformations in his life. The author is very good at describing pivotal events in the life of the main character. It was a memorable story and an enjoyable read although I haven`t yet decided if I would like to read the next books.
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