On her 40th birthday, Madame Wu carries out a decision she has been planning for a long time: she tells her husband that after 24 years their physical life together is now over and she wishes him to take a second wife. The House of Wu, one of the oldest and most revered in China, is thrown into an uproar by her decision, but Madame Wu will not be dissuaded and arranges for a young country girl to come take her place in bed.
Elegant and detached, Madame Wu orchestrates this change as she manages everything in the extended household of more than sixty relatives and servants. Alone in her own quarters, she relishes her freedom and reads books she has never been allowed to touch. When her son begins English lessons, she listens, and is soon learning from the "foreigner," a free-thinking priest named Brother Andre, who will change her life.
Pavilion of Women is a thought-provoking combination of Old China, unorthodox Christianity, and liberation, written by Pearl S. Buck, a Nobel Prize winner born and raised in China. Few stories raise so many questions about the nature and roles of men and women, about self-discipline and happiness. At the center is the amazing Madame Wu - brilliant, beautiful, full of contradictions and authority.
©1990 Pearl S. Buck (P)2011 Oasis Audio
I'm a fan of Pearl S. Buck and very much enjoyed the Good Earth, but this book just didn't do it for me. The premise was intriguing to me, but the story is so flat and the reading so monotone, that I find myself just tuning it out and having to re-listen to whole chapters. I never finished it.
Interesting insight into the rural high class pre-revolution China, both in their every day lives and their strict cultural structure.
Started confusing but engaging, getting to know the different characters and personalities.
Madame Wu started as a wise, kind head of the household, only to turn into an overly exaggerated fountain of goodness and wisdom. Could not understand the origin of such deep love for Andre, considering the limited time the novel puts them together. Andre is another over the top wise and generous soul. Her constant thoughts of him ended up boring me and couldn't wait for the book to end.
The narration was fine, but I might have enjoyed it more narrated by a woman.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
A flawlessly written story of how tradition, age old ways and upbringing mould our lives and can change the course of them so quickly. A beautiful quietly strong story, written with flawless beauty that makes you want to close your eyes and be transported into forgotten lands where blossoms, ratan walls, green and jasmine tea and flowing silks quietly form your life. Fragrant rice, small bites of delicious sweetmeats and where all is still and well ordered. But its not! Human spirit, wilfulness and personalities are the same across all cultures and we cannot force people to do what we wish without suffering the consequences.
After finishing this book, I wanted more, I wanted just another few chapters..
A fairly interesting story about the perceived role and status of men and women in Chinese society in the early part of the 20th C. The struggle between duty and desire runs through the course of the novel. Having listened to Peony earlier, I couldn't help comparing the two. I found Peony more engaging and better crafted as a story.
I didn't read the print version so I cannot compare it.
When the heroine finally accepted her daughter-in-law.
When the Heroine learned that she was't always right as she previously thought.
It was a little too long to listen to in one sitting.
"Elegant story, takes you through time and culture"
Although this novel was written long ago, the tale is still as engaging and enjoyable many generations later. It's a great journey into a country village where prominent families ruled and the world was at war with itself. The story is read well by a male voice who was able to tell this tale with the depth, variety, emotion and understand it deserves. Very good performance of a wonderful story of Madame Wu. Highly recommended!
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