HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Loading...

Good Earth (edition 2011)

by Pearl S. Buck

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,985172333 (4.07)483
Member:Jessicah16
Title:Good Earth
Authors:Pearl S. Buck
Info:Amereon Ltd (2011), Hardcover, 269 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

  1. 70
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Both are well-written novels set in late 19th/early 20th century China.
  2. 61
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
  3. 40
    Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck (deeyes)
    deeyes: Dragon seed is similar but better pearl buck book
  4. 41
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
  5. 10
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Ellen_Elizabeth)
    Ellen_Elizabeth: Another classic, historical fiction novel that explores a traditional culture through the story of one man and his family. Both were written in English and illustrate the author's perceived strengths and weaknesses of the subject culture in a way that is accessible to western readers.… (more)
  6. 32
    Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (ominogue)
  7. 21
    The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Vol. 1, The Gathering by David Tod Roy (orangewords)
  8. 11
    Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer (SanctiSpiritus)
  9. 11
    Pao by Kerry Young (sturlington)
  10. 11
    The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre (orangewords)
  11. 01
    The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Authoress)
    Authoress: Families who go through times of both wealth and poverty are featured in both works
  12. 23
    Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (jennyl.keen)
  13. 12
    Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun (thatguyzero)
  14. 13
    The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh (ominogue)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 483 mentions

English (165)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (172)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
It can never be said of the Swedish Academy that they don't know what they like. Between The Growth of the Soil, Independent People, The Good Earth, and probably several others I haven't read yet it seems clear that the path to a Nobel prize in literature is the one trod by struggling farmers out in the countryside.

Independent People, unlike some of the other novels of this vein, focuses on the unpredictability of both nature and man as the decisive reason why farming succeeds or fails. While Hamsun stages a play where hard work and the willpower of the human spirit leads to the successful farm, Laxness sees the lonely farmer as ruled by the vicissitudes of fate more so than the noble human spirit.

I'm no farmer, and I don't pretend to know what interpretation is more accurate, but I can see the effect that the philosophies have on both stories. Hamsun's main character is essentially a simpleton, whose strength and work ethic are the source of success. His wife, neighbors, and children are all lesser beings even when more intelligent, whose virtues decrease according to how little they care for the farming lifestyle. In sum The Growth of the Soil is a showcase for the triumph of the human will and an ode to the farming lifestyle, even if the characters are rather flat and one dimensional given how long the book is.

In Independent People, in contrast, the characters feel more fleshed out, though all of them are insufferable to different degrees. Stubborn and proud even when they have done nothing to be proud of, a mix of bad luck and human foolishness means that life is a struggle in this novel even when things are going well. The main character is no supernaturally strong jack of all trades, and so he cannot be as independent and self-sufficient as he would like to be, and how the main character of Growth of the Soil actually is. Eventually the epiphany the man reaches and the message of the book as a whole is that there is no such thing as a truly independent person, as man is a social animal. It's a fairly obvious message, and not one that takes 450 pages to convey. John Donne did it more effectively in a single paragraph.

Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth is the best of the three, and also the least tethered to the setting or realism of a farm. Rural China as imagined by a Westerner is vivid, probably more vivid than it was in reality, but I'd happily sacrifice realism for a good story. In The Good Earth a farmer's success is also due to chance, but it is chance governed by man as much as it is by the weather or fate. The main character ultimately succeeds due to an act of theft, not hard work, and the final chapters of the book depict the corrupting power of wealth. The Good Earth also ends with a message in support of the farming lifestyle, not because of its nobility, but because the soil is permanent while other human endeavors are transient.

All three are solid books, and all three treat the subject in different and interesting ways. Nevertheless, I'm glad the Swedish Academy has since expanded its view of literature beyond the farm. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
This week I finished The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. I first read this book decades ago, so it was nice to reread the classic. I loved her writing style! I remembered some points in the plot, but I didn't remember her fantastic writing. I know now that I need to read more by this author.

The story begins with a poor man who acquires a wife from among the slaves of a great house. She is a hard worker and they go through the ups and downs of life, from great poverty to great wealth. But, she isn't loved because of her big feet and lack of beauty. Her hard work contributes greatly to the wealth of the family. Women's issues are a major theme of the book. Set in rural China at the turn of the century, the story shows the humanity of all men and women. Nobel Prize Winner and Pulitzer Prize Winner.

Here is an example of her beautiful writing style. The author writes about O-lan breastfeeding:

"But out of the woman's great brown breast the milk gushed forth for the child, milk as white as snow, and when the child suckled at one breast it flowed like a fountain from the other, and she let it flow. There was more than enough for the child, greedy though he was, life enough for many children, and she let it flow out carelessly, conscious of her abundance....The child was fat and good-natured and ate of the inexhaustible life his mother gave him." ( )
  heidip | Oct 6, 2014 |
The story did keep me interested. I don't know if she used the writing style she did to convey the simplicity of Wang Lung, a poor farmer and his family or if she used the same style throughout all her books. I did find the sentence structure a bit awkward in spots so it didn't flow as smoothly as it might have, but there was enough historical reference to date the story to just before the Boxer Rebellion and through the Revolution of 1911. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Sep 20, 2014 |
I love novels that help me to experience a new culture, and the Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck took me on a thoroughly entertaining journey through early 20th-c China. We follow the lives of the hardworking but poor farmer Wang Lung, who marries the plain and thrifty slave O-Lan. Together, they set out on an adventure to improve their lives. But if they succeed, will they inevitably change from simple, industrious farmers to ape the idle lifestyles of the country’s Ladies and Lords? This is the question at the heart of the novel. Drought, flood, locusts, starvation, robbers and hangers on assault Wang Lung and O-Lan’s endeavours, but with their hard work, luck, and O-Lan’s wiles, they survive and begin to prosper. That is when their real troubles begin, and the repercussions reverberate through their entire household.

Ms Buck paints a vivid picture of the struggles ordinary people had to endure in China at the time, and the opium induced stupor of the rich to the plight of their fellow citizens. The fact that the author spent most of the first half of her life in China (her Chinese name was Sai Zhenzhu ) also adds much credibility to the images her work evokes. I’ll definitely be putting the rest of Ms Buck’s novels set in China on my to read list. ( )
  George_Hamilton | Sep 14, 2014 |
The Good Earth by Pearl Buck is a fiction about a poor farmer, Wang Lung, who is blessed with a year of plentiful produce and buys land from the House of Hwang, a failing hierarchy. Once he gets a taste of his new found wealth, he desires things that he earlier would have thought pointless. Once rich and old, the only thing he desires is peace. Although Buck writes in a relatively simple style, she layers the story of Wang Lung with thoughtful ideas. This novel is about desires that come from riches and reveals that wealth has the potential to destroy family and traditional values. Buck stresses the importance of family and simplicity. The paragraphs that she does not employ to continue the plot, usually focus instead on little problems or adventures of Wang Lung, which I thought to be rich with culture and wisdom, making this book charming and captivating. I enjoyed reading about how Wang Lung’s life improves tremendously, as he finds new wealth and as he buys items that make him and his family happy. However, Buck also causes the reader to feel pity and hatred when Wang spends his fortune foolishly. One flaw in the book that the reader could easily predict is that Wang Lung’s relationships with his family and beloved land would soon weaken and he would end up facing similar problems to those of the House of Hwang. Through Wang Lung’s life and adventures, Buck displays some of her own experiences growing up in the Chinese culture. Overall, The Good Earth is an enjoyable book that portrays an intriguing story of one character’s journey to reach happiness. ( )
  jacquescp6 | May 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pearl S. Buckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
...This was what Vinteuil had done for the little phrase. Swann felt that the composer had been content (with the instruments at his disposal) to draw aside its veil, to make it visible, following and respecting its outlines with a hand so loving, so prudent, so delicate and so sure, that the sound altered at every moment, blunting itself to indicate a shadow, springing back into life when it must follow the curve of some more bold projection. And one proof that Swann was not mistaken when believed in the real existence of this phrase was that anyone with an ear at all delicate for music would have at once detected the imposture had Vinteuil, endowed with less power to see and to render its forms, sought to dissemble (by adding a line, here and there, of his own invention) the dimness of his vision or the feebleness of his hand. -- Swann's Way, by Marcel Proust
Dedication
First words
It was Wang Lung's marriage day.
Quotations
He had no articulate thought of anything; there was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods. The earth lay rich and dark, and fell apart lightly under the points of their hoes, Sometimes they turned up a bit of brick, a splinter of wood. It was nothing. Sometimes, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, sometime, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together – together – producing the fruit of this earth – speechless in their movement together.
…he said nothing still, she looked at him piteously and sadly out of her strange dumb eyes that were like a beast’s eyes that cannot speak, and then she went away, creeping and feeling for the door because of her tears that blinded her.

Wang Lung watched her as she went and he was glad to be alone, but still he was ashamed and he was still angry that he was ashamed, and he said to himself, and he muttered the words aloud and restlessly, as though he quarreled with someone, “Well, and other men are so and I have been good enough to her, and there are men worse than I.” And he said at last that O-lan must bear it.
My house and my land it is, and if it were not for the land we should all starve as the others did, and you could not walk about in your dainty robes idle as a scholar. It is the good land that has made you something better than a farmer’s lad.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743272935, Paperback)

Pearl S. Buck's epic

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of a China that was

-- now in a Contemporary Classics

edition.

Though more than sixty years have passed

since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer

Prize, it has retained its popularity and become

one of the great modern classics. "I can only

write what I know, and I know nothing but China,

having always lived there," wrote Pearl Buck. In

The Good Earth she presents a graphic

view of a China when the last emperor reigned

and the vast political and social upheavals of

the twentieth century were but distant rumblings

for the ordinary people. This moving, classic

story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his

selfless wife O-lan is must reading for those

who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes

that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese

people during this century.

Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the

whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions,

its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel

-- beloved by millions of readers -- is a

universal tale of the destiny of man.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Pearl S. Buck's epic Pulitzer prize-winning novel of a China that was now in a contemporary classics edition. Though more than sixty years have passed since this remarkable novel won the Pulitzer prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics. "I can only write what I know, and I know nothing but China, having always lived there," wrote Pearl Buck. In the Good Earth she presents a graphic view of a China when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings for the ordinary people. This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife o-lan is must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during this century. Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel, beloved by millions of readers, is a universal tale of the destiny of man. Enduring literature illuminated by practical scholarship a poignant tale about the life and labors of a Chinese farmer during the sweeping reign of the country s last emperor. Each enriched classic edition includes: A concise introduction that gives readers important background information, a chronology of the author's life and work, a timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context, an outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations, detailed explanatory notes, a critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work, discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction, a list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience. Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential. Pulitzer Prize fiction, 1932.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
242 avail.
97 wanted
6 pay11 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.07)
0.5 3
1 30
1.5 7
2 95
2.5 26
3 339
3.5 85
4 770
4.5 123
5 832

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,392,334 books! | Top bar: Always visible