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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 (1817 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kenneth Cary, NC, United States 03-25-12
    Kenneth Cary, NC, United States 03-25-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
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    Story
    "I was expecting more"

    While this was not a bad story it was severely lacking on the action front. It was a story of a good man who worked hard, made some mistakes, picked himself back up and kept going. Nothing surprising happened. It meandered around until it came to a conclusion. Not a must read for me.

    The narrator did a fine job. His voice was slightly Asian sounding without an accent which made the story easy to listen to with a feel for the time and place.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Melrose, WI, United States 03-11-12
    Ben Melrose, WI, United States 03-11-12 Member Since 2009
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    "fascinating and tragic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    What a wonderful snapshot in time, beautifully written and crafted.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It offers insight into China's history and culture, translated by Buck into terms that a westerner can understand. There is foreboding also about the future.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Richland, WA, United States 02-23-12
    Ray Richland, WA, United States 02-23-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I like Pearl Buck"

    I enjoyed listening to this book. The narrator did a fine job. Thanks for making this available.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Santa Barbara, CA, United States 02-20-12
    Jane Santa Barbara, CA, United States 02-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "AWESOME!!"
    Where does The Good Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?


    Any additional comments?

    Anthony Heald's voice brings Pearl S. Buck's 1930s Chinese agrarian society into your heart. This is a very moving and poignant story so well written that it is no wonder it garnered the Pulitzer. I strongly recommend you treat yourself to beautiful moving prose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zu-Zu Boston, MA 01-03-12
    Zu-Zu Boston, MA 01-03-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Profound and memorable"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Good Earth to be better than the print version?

    The narrator is so excellent that this audio edition of The Good Earth is either equal to or better than the reading experience. It's like attending a performance with a complete cast of characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    We see the main character as an innocent youth with his dreams, as a hard-working young adult during good times and bad, in the burned out phase of middle years, etc. He makes mistakes and sometimes misses good things (such as his wife) right under his nose.

    I also love the descriptions of the earth itself--indeed the Good Earth is an essential


    Any additional comments?

    This audible book is worth owning. It's good to reread it at different times in life. Glad that my Book Group has decided to reread it after 20 years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb New Milford, CT, United States 12-28-11
    Deb New Milford, CT, United States 12-28-11 Member Since 2009
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    "A Must Read for All Ages"

    This timeless classic covers poverty, adversity, and endurance. It also conveys unconditional love and loyalty. Still a story for our modern time about what's really important in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Springfield, MO, United States 12-17-11
    James Springfield, MO, United States 12-17-11 Member Since 2010

    New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic for a reason"

    Few books written in 1931 can be enjoyed by readers today. This book will still be popular two hundred years from now. This was America's best seller in 1931 and 1932 and won the Pulitzer.

    This is a rags to riches story, a human interest story, a history of China. We follow a peasant farmer who is so poor that putting tea leaves in hot water is considered too much an extravagance. He marries a big ugly slave woman and is happy to do so. We follow his life as he goes through a famine in which his family becomes beggars and almost starves. Where he considers selling his daughter so both can survive. We follow him as he becomes successful. We see how money changes him.

    Throughout the story he continues to love the earth. All the characters in this book come alive and you care for each and everyone of them. You feel for the big ugly woman, who works hard and does everything to be the best wife possible, but lives in a society where small dainty women are valuable and big ugly woman a burden. All women are property and we see how woman survive in such a society.

    I gave this book 5 stars, something I almost never do, you are missing out if you don't read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fran Jacksonville, OR, United States 10-23-11
    Fran Jacksonville, OR, United States 10-23-11 Member Since 2011
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    "LOVED IT!"

    I had read the book over 40 years ago --it has held up well. Great historical fiction with wonderful writing. Especially interesting in view of recent changes in China -- it's truly amazing how much has changed in 100 years. Be sure to read Parts 2 and 3 -- I never knew it was a trilogy and am so glad I found out. The experience of sitting back and listening to this story unfold was a real treat -- I hated to have it end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joya Seaford, DE, United States 10-22-11
    Joya Seaford, DE, United States 10-22-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A Facinating Journey into the Past"

    Published in 1931, "The Good Earth" is the first in "The House of Earth" trilogy. The book was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1932, and its author, Pearl S. Buck went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is the beautifully written story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer with a deep and enduring love for his land. The story spans his lifetime from young adulthood until his old age near his death. The setting is rural pre-Revolution China. The language is simple and dispassionate. The characters are flawed but richly presented. The themes are universal, timeless and filled with irony. It is a story of the passions that drive all human beings to achievement and often to tragedy and destruction. The author takes us on an emotional journey of ambition, survival, the attainment of wealth, self-sacrifice, family, the abandonment of traditional values and of lust. The contrast between modern Western culture and the Chinese agrarian culture at that time is striking, and I perceived that the story contained a faint thread of disdain for that society's treatment of women. As a modern woman, this particular quality is not difficult to identify with, but I found it to be slightly unsettling. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but found that while the author presents the characters and customs with affection, she remains firmly an outsider with a voice tainted - almost imperceptibly - common to Western writers who find themselves immersed in an alien culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine United States 10-14-11
    Lorraine United States 10-14-11
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    "Beautifully Narrated Classic"

    I listened to this book to try to remember it from 30+ years ago...the narration was so believable, a truely theatric performance without too much drama or force of character voices. The story is a life lesson, and affected me with a sense of acceptance and balance. It also took me away to another land and another time, culturally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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