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.
A good book. Not as good as The Good Earth, but worth your credit. The writing is just as flawless, but instead of a rag to riches story we have a bun..Show More »ch of unhappy rich people. Since the characters are not as easy to love, the book is not as good as the first. If you have not read The Good Earth, read that first.
Nepotism is studied in detail and of course the results are not good. There are some good lessons for parents about raising children and trying to steer their lives in certain directions. Matter of fact the book ends with a surprise for a father about his son. This leads you to want to read the third book, which I hope to do some day.
Years ago I used to play a game called, Romance of the Three Kingdoms and this book, made me want to go back to that game. It seems one of the sons may even be in the game, I am not sure. The book Romance of the Three Kingdoms is mentioned in this book.
The Good Earth was the best selling book in 1932 and 1933 and won a Pulitzer. This book can not compete with that, but it is a great historical fiction.
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.