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Publisher's Summary

An internationally best-selling author, Anchee Min draws upon her Chinese heritage to pen lush historical epics. Here she transports listeners to the Far East for a fictionalized account of acclaimed author Pearl Buck’s youth.

Arriving in late 19th-century China with her missionary parents, Buck is soon fascinated by her new home and strikes up a friendship with a young Chinese girl named Willow. The two become inseparable, even as civil war, failed relationships, and world conflicts threaten all they hold dear.

©2010 Anchee Min (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Ardently detailed, dramatic, and encompassing, Min’s fresh and penetrating interpretation of Pearl S. Buck’s extraordinary life delivers profound psychological, spiritual, and historical insights within an unforgettable cross-cultural story of a quest for veracity, compassion, and justice." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Lesley
  • West Kempsey, Australia
  • 08-15-10

Utterly Fascinating

Anchee Min allows the reader to step right into the world of these 2 young women from different cultures. The reader is flooded with sensory information as well as temporal events. There is no criticism of either way of life which is refreshing... merely an acceptance of difference. Elegant and Evocative. I was dismayed when I finished the book. Highly recommended reading.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Lyn
  • LADY LAKE, FL, United States
  • 10-07-11

interesting contempory history

I have always been interested in Pearl Buck and this story, told from a Chinese viewpoint was enlightening. It moved slowly in places and the semi-accent of the narator was a bit ponderous. I especially enjoyed leaning about the situatiopn of the peasents in the Mao era. Now I really want to visit Ms Buck's burial place in Pa

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderful book

This is a wonderful book. It drew me in, and made me feel that I was there in China with them. P.S. The narrarator, Angela Lin, can really sing!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Christine
  • Miami, FL, United States
  • 05-04-17

The narrator could sing!!

Great book! I could visualize the events. However, the singing was the cherry on top. The narrator had a beautiful voice and sang many songs. Great! Unexpected pleasure!

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Beautiful and nostalgic

A beautifully written story with a mix of non-fiction and fiction. Some parts of the narrative do sound a bit fantastic and exaggerated, but it could easily be a faithful reflection of Buck's passion, experiences, and yearning for China. Well-worth the read. Lovely.

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Truly A Pearl

Couldn't stop listening, the author and narrator bring life back to an amazing and brilliant woman.

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Fictionalized story of Pearl S Buck

This story made me want to get "The Good Earth". Is was a fast moving tour of China in the early 20th century. The characters were very believable.

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  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 09-04-10

Chinese Opera of the Soap variety

The limitations and pretensions of Ayn Rand seem to loom large over this less than weighty tome - where a large ?I said, she said? narrative section is followed by some very speculative assumptions about the specific motivations of Madame Mao - which really, although they live up fully to the received wisdom of this character really need to be explored further to confirm what basis there is in history for sounds at times to be trips to the absurd.
Chinese history as Western Soap opera follows the Russian Revolution as chat magazine as provided by the ideologically egg-bound Ayn Rand.
There are some nice touches at the end - but it all tends heavily to the melodramatic and does not satisfy. Why does this feminist-rooted writing have to be so dismissive and reductivist of one of the most fascinating characters in the most significant period of history - are we really to believe that the ?big problem? was all down to the fact that Madame Mao was jealous of the possibility of Pearl Buck standing between her husband and Richard Nixon and getting her camera time.
We?ve seen the frailties and complexities of both Mao and Nixon being put through the boil-wash surely the Madame deserves something a little more substantial that this dip in a lukewarm soft soap and defoliation....surely.