Though written in 1931, The Good Earth hasn't lost a bit of its timeless power and beauty. Set in agrarian, pre-Revolution China, the book tells the t..Show More »ale of impoverished farmer Wang Lung, who, through hard work and a stroke of good luck, goes from being a poor man on the edge of starvation to a rich one with much land and a large family. Yet, his new life only brings him new problems, which keep coming as the years pass.
Buck writes with simple but eloquent brush strokes, and the world and culture she describes are fascinating. In some ways, this novel could describe the life of peasant people anywhere. The language is simple and direct, and beyond a few quaint turns of phrase, doesn't feel at all dated. All of her characters, including the protagonist, are flawed people, and she writes about them without judgment, but truthfully. It's not a world that's always kind, especially to girls and women, but it's a world that was. We also see the virtues and the faults of capitalism, as it existed around the turn of the 20th century.
This is a beautiful, lyrical story that paints a vivid, cyclical picture of life in another time and place. Highly recommended. The audiobook narrator does an excellent job, as well, effortlessly making his intonations more or less Chinese, depending on if he's reading dialogue or description.
This is book two of the "Good Earth" trilogy it was copyrighted in 1932, the trilogy won the Pulitzer prize. The Good Earth won the Nobel Prize for L..Show More »iterature. Peal S. Buck was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The "Sons" picks up the story from the end of the "Good Earth" at the death of Wang Lung and follows the lives of the three sons. The book lacks the passion that Wang Lung had for the land that drove the "Good Earth." These sons grew up rich and lived a rich spoiled life each a bit different, the educated son is Wang the Landlord, the money maker is Wang the Merchant and Wang the Tiger is the war lord. The story is about the son's rising against their father and the bitter struggles to the death between the old and the new China. Buck brought many real life situation into a story of a old and foreign culture to us. She writes of love, suicide, loneliness, greed and the drive for power. She demonstrated the role of women in the old China. It is a story of love, tragedy and war. Anthony Heald did a good job narrating the story. Buck is a master story teller.
One must examine A House Divided as the third part of the Good Earth Trilogy. The Good Earth, Sons, and this novel. First the good, then the bad (bu..Show More »t no ugly to mention). The novels certainly have insight into humankind’s frailties; that we go through life not actually knowing what it is we are doing. These books are an in depth analysis of our everyday humankind undertakings – they show our innate biases, how we consider others and are we really perceiving the world realistically or with inborn predispositions. The books though lay these concepts out in a litany or list of very beautiful prose, but without much plot. Its teachings are repeated, and repeated and repeated so much that the read really became a bore. The first book, The Good Earth was enough. The next two were not an enjoyable read, . The Good Earth, is about a Chinese peasant, his love of the land and his rise to a princely state. Good. The second, Sons, is about his sons, and in particular one that becomes a (pseudo) warrior. A total bore to read and without any involving story. Just frustration after frustration following the stories lead character or brother. The last and our novel, A House Divided, follows the warrior’s son’s feckless search in life for who he should be. He is a wet noodle.
So there you have it, good teaching, poor plots, and just not enough there to read all three books. If you must then The Good Earth. The last, our book A House Divided, is bearable but to get any worth out of it you need to read Sons, and I just did not find the total read worth the effort. Yes, I know I gave Sons a fairly good accreditation. Looking back now, I can’t understand why?
Two last points. The books’ titles are more invigorating than the books’ stories. Yes, I know, how dare I not praise literature that won the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes? Well 80 years ago China was an unknown and these tombs made known to the western world the nature and character of the Chinese peoples. Achievement one. As I have said they do very thoroughly examine human frailties. Achievement two. They are (were) valuable teaching tools written in a unique writing style. Achievement three. Worthy as study materials in the 1930s (and even today). Yes. As invigorating reads? No.