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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    109
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    78
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    35
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    6
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    3

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    50
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    27
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    3
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    51
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  • Story

Horrible narration!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator! I'm not sure what else because I had to stop it after a while. I couldn't stand anymore.

What did you like best about this story?

It seemed as wonderful as Pearl S. Buck's other work, from what I could hear. I'll definitely just buy a hard copy and read it for myself.

What didn’t you like about Adam Verner’s performance?

First of all, why have a man narrate a story told from a woman's perspective? I guess it still could have been okay, but he was very monotone and sometimes I felt that he enunciated words in really strange ways, putting emphasis on random syllables and sounds. Sometimes I also felt that he was trying to add a mild version of a cheesy chinese accent. It almost seemed like he was being snide about the characters, like he didn't like them. I may try again and see if I can get used to his style, but it's doubtful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Meh...

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Not as good as expected

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lorna
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 09-23-13

Flawlessly beautiful!

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..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Pavilion of Women

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Strong start but wishy washy at the end

First three quarters give a really interesting look into old Chinese Pavillion life. But later the becomes really esoteric, I couldn't finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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lovely story

l liked the story but not the narrator. most of the charatures were women and I did,nt feel that he embraced their differences, also he dragged in tempo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Serena
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • 07-19-15

Surprisingly Boring

Would you try another book from Pearl S. Buck and/or Adam Verner?

I really like Pearl Buck and have read a lot of it, but this is really slow going. Thinking of returning it.

What does Adam Verner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Narration is good. Too bad the story puts you to sleep.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Life

Amazing book. I read at 17 and now 62 years old with dIfferent meanings and feelings about life, relationships, and faith.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love Immortal

An excellent book, worthy of reading and listening to! The depth of writing and the immortality of morals make it a serious study of the human nature.

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  • LRC
  • 04-13-13

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • gerrard
  • 05-16-17

A book good for the soul

This beautifully narrated gently paced book is full of pearls of wisdom for our generation.

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  • Ivan
  • 04-28-15

Remarkable...

Madam Wu kicks-ass:) Great story through time, I would definitely recommend the book.. Z z z z z z