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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1816 )
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4.5 (978 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Colleen Calvert 12-11-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    5
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    418
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 2007
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Richard Oakland, CA, United States 01-10-14
    Richard Oakland, CA, United States 01-10-14 Member Since 2009
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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
  •  
    Cynbee San Jose, CA, United States 03-26-13
    Cynbee San Jose, CA, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2012

    former nuclear scientist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A classic of English literature"

    This book was written in deliberately simple English, as though by an immigrant student or translator, to reflect the straightforwardness of our protagonist, Wang Long. His life is followed from his wedding day til his sunset, and we see his fortunes rise and fall and rise even higher than before.

    It's hard to describe this novel; as an American born Chinese woman, I have mixed feelings about the all-too-recognizable disregard that the culture had for females, even from females themselves, and the cognitive dissonance that the protagonist is able to hold (his first wife, O-Lan, brings him most of his fortune, works hard, and does necessary tasks that he can't bring himself to do - without complaint, while bearing him six children - yet he tosses her aside; he is too ethical to eat stolen pork, yet his great fortune springs from him and his wife seizing lucky chances for thievery created by riots during the Communist Revolution; he knows that he needs to stay close to his land, or he loses himself, yet he lets his children disdain farming once they have money). His treatment of O-Lan is deplorable and almost sickening, yet still we hope for him and his family as they travel the full arc from poor farmer to great family, mimicking along the way the foibles of the family they replace. At its heart, this is a novel about the cycle of life and the all-too-common inability of people to learn from history.

    I remember visiting China as a child in the 1980s and meeting my great-great-grandmother, who was then in her late 90s. They introduced a middle-aged woman who was her "slave." No one wanted to explain further, and this book has given me more insight into my ancestors and hereditary culture than any of my living relatives. Though I had to stop at times for tears - the famine and the deaths really got to me, partly because of stories I'd heard whispered about the death of my uncle as an infant - it was a compelling listen, and deserves its status as a classic despite the simplistic and often repetitive language.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 09-10-12
    Nancy Waterloo, ON, Canada 09-10-12 Member Since 2010

    I love learning, teaching, and exploring!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Start of a trilogy"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Salinas, Ca, United States 07-03-12
    Jennifer Salinas, Ca, United States 07-03-12
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    "wonderful"

    I loved the story and performance. I was glued to my earphones! I was also educated on the culture and history of China.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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