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Peony by Pearl S. Buck
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Peony (1948)

by Pearl S. Buck

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Peony is an indentured servant for a family of Chinese Jews in 19th Century Kaifeng, China. Wendy Abraham's afterword offers context for this fascinating population which came to China perhaps as early as the 1100s. Like most of Buck's novels, "Peony" is delicately and sensitively written, though it will doubtless seem dated to modern readers, and it does not have the power that her "Good Earth" trilogy has.

Read the rest at: http://thegrimreader.blogspot.com/2014/01/i-read-some-books-about-incarceration.... ( )
  nohrt4me2 | Jan 18, 2014 |
Peony is about the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng, a tapestry of history and fiction. It is a very interesting and timely book to read around Passover when stories are told of being in exile. Buck captured issues of being different versus assimilation along with universal struggles of faith and wove all this into the Chinese culture in the early 1800's. As I read I had vivid pictures in my mind of my own visit to China and various Chinese theatrical performances I have seen. I learned a lot from this novel about the history of Jews in China and their role in commerce. In short this is a masterful story, simple and profound,
about family ties and love and although written in the late 40's, still timely. Cyrille Cobe - May 2010
  bilib | May 18, 2013 |
00002124
  cavlibrary | Apr 19, 2013 |
This was my first (and still only) Pearl S. Buck book and I cherish it. While the summery makes it sound like a romance it is more about the historical background of the Jews escaping to live in China and how the two clash culturally. Very interesting, though slow at first. Once I made it past the beginning the two main ideals that make up this book became fascinating to me and I could not put it down. This is the most quotable book I have in my repertoire when it comes to religion, spirituality and human nature. Here are two of my favorites: 1) “If there is a God and He is what you say, He will be too sensible to ask me to believe in what I have not seen.” 2) "All business should have its human connections. The more human every relationship could be, the more sound it was, the more lasting." ( )
  MooqieLove | Jun 14, 2012 |
A short synopsis of this plots makes it seem like a romance. It's not. Peony is a "bondwoman", having been sold to a Jewish family when she was 8, as a companion for their only child, David. The children are now marriageable age. David's mother wants him to marry Leah, the beautiful and dutiful daughter of the Rabbi. His father wants him to marry Keilein, the beautiful younger daugter of his business associate. Peony, also quite beautiful, loves David, but knows he cannot marry her. However, her chances of happiness in the house would be much better if he married Keilein than Leah. This book encompasses 50 years in the lives of the Jewish family and their friends. Along the way the reader gets the history fo the Jews in China and the history of China as it unfolds from 1950 to the turn of the century.

My only complaint in this book was that there was only one "bad" character, Aaron. Even he was only lazy and greedy, not evil. Everyone else was good with small character flaws, such as pettiness or pride. Otherwise, this is a wonderful character driven plot about China in the 1950s. ( )
  whymaggiemay | May 31, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pearl S. Buckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lennart, ClareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At various times in history colonies of Jews have gone to China and lived there. The city of K'aifeng, in the province of Honan, was a center for them. In China they have never been persecuted, and if they have suffered hardships, these were only the hardships of life in the community where they were.

In its basis, therefore, this novel may be said to be historically true, although the characters, with unimportant exceptions, are the creatures of my imagination. The story takes place at the period, about a century ago, when the Chinese had accepted the Jews, and when, indeed, most Jews had come to think of themselves as Chinese. Today even the memory of their origin is gone. They are Chinese.
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It was spring in the city of K'aifeng, a late spring in the northern Chinese province of Honan.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0819705926, Hardcover)

Young Peony is sold into a rich Chinese household as a bondmaid -- an awkward role in which she is more a servant, but less a daughter. As she grows into a lovely, provocative young woman, Peony falls in love with the family's only son. However, tradition forbids them to wed. How she resolves her love for him and her devotion to her adoptive family unfolds in this profound tale, based on true events in China over a century ago.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:23 -0400)

Young Peony is sold into a rich Chinese household as a bondmaid -- an awkward role in which she is more a servant, but less a daughter. As she grows into a lovely, provocative young woman, Peony falls in love with the family's only son. However, tradition forbids them to wed. How she resolves her love for him and her devotion to her adoptive family unfolds in this profound tale, based on true events in China over a century ago.… (more)

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