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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.
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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

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  •  
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 02-28-12
    JanBreesmom MIRA LOMA, CA, United States 02-28-12 Member Since 2012

    Breesmom

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    "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
  •  
    Janice Budd Canada 07-30-11
    Janice Budd Canada 07-30-11 Member Since 2014
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    "A Good Read"

    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.
    flag

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen Calvert 12-11-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredible book, spectacularly rendered!"

    For years people have been telling me I should read this book. I finally downloaded the audio format and was blown away by both the incredible story and the masterful reading by Anthony Heald. I listen to at least one audiobook a week and this narration stands out among the very best. I was struck by how Buck so persuasively tells the story of a man and his family from a completely different culture. But it turns out that Buck was born and spent much of her life in China. The narrator seemed to capture the cadence of her writing (sometimes criticized I read, for being too repetitive) beautifully. I highly recommend this download.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peyton C. Lewis USA 04-12-10
    Peyton C. Lewis USA 04-12-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Fabulous narrator"

    I don't know how to begin the praise for this narrator, Anthony Heald. I hope he looks back on comments about his work periodically, because it will give him a real lift. Quite simply, he made this book come alive with his sensitive phrasing, his change in tone of voice, his authenticity. I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book half as much if someone else had narrated it. He is a master.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 04-02-10
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 04-02-10 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

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    "Excellent narration"

    A superb narration makes this classic well worth listening to and enjoying.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danica Statesville, NC, USA 08-16-09
    Danica Statesville, NC, USA 08-16-09
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    "Very good read (listen)"

    I really enjoyed this book and the narrator did a wonderful job with the voices.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Wellsville, PA, USA 11-27-07
    Judy Wellsville, PA, USA 11-27-07 Member Since 2012
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    "The Good Earth"

    The reading of this book was excelllent. I have read the book many times, and the reader did not disappoint.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lancaster, PA, USA 11-20-07
    Linda Lancaster, PA, USA 11-20-07
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    "Beautiful!"

    What a timeless piece of work, so masterfully written by Ms. Buck and equally performed by Mr. Heald. I so thoroughly enjoyed listening to this reader bring this book to life; I so completely savored the lovely way in which Ms. Buck wove the language around even the tiniest perceptions of characters who, to a large degree, were extremely conservative of spoken words.
    I would highly recommend this book. It was a joy to listen to; and I'm sure I will listen to it again.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 02-27-15
    Calliope 02-27-15
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    "The more things change, the more they remain......"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Richard Oakland, CA, United States 01-10-14
    Richard Oakland, CA, United States 01-10-14
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    "One of the 20th Century's Great Books"
    If you could sum up The Good Earth in three words, what would they be?

    Compassion, human condition


    What did you like best about this story?

    The enormous compassion this story contains for human beings living under terribly difficult situations.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Details about the central character's struggles getting started with his farming.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If I had had the leisurely schedule, I might well have wanted this.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator of the story, the reader, adds a great and important dimension to the telling of this tale. Wonderful !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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