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Pavillion of Women by Pearl S. Buck
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Pavillion of Women (1946)

by Pearl S. Buck

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» See also 29 mentions

English (9)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Well, this was deep and meaningful literature... There was story (that moved slowly, characters ( just one developed very deeply), and under and through everything, philosophy. Lots of deep thinking and powerful prose...but it often felt heavy-handed & a bit preachy for me. It was not what I expected, and I am glad I read it, but it's not likely to be one I re-read or recommend much. There were quite a few little gems of wisdom and expression. She is obviously a very good writer with a lot of thoughtful things to say. I am glad that I have finally discovered Pearl S. Buck. ( )
  Liciasings | Jun 3, 2013 |
I absolutely adore Pearl S. Buck's writing. That being said, I shall have to go through her entire bibliography in order to satisfy myself. Her prose is a warm bath, complete with the small insights and revelations that often come to one during luxurious respite. 'Pavilion of Women' presents a woman with unparalleled logic and self-control, but who also is ignorant of how coldly she views the rest of the world, those who lack her intelligence and strength of will. Through the course of the novel, she recognizes the mistakes she has made in withdrawing herself from the world and expecting the world to properly continue, and with the help from a foreign priest and a previously foreign emotion, she discovers how to continue existing. I feel I have a soft spot for this book, as I share many of the character traits of the protagonist (albeit not nearly as omniscient), and I love the book for being able to relate to many of its wise remarks on life in general. ( )
  Korrick | Mar 30, 2013 |
"Pavilion of Women" is a multi-dimensional novel about China just prior to WWII. In contrast to "The Good Earth" trilogy, which was about the men in the Wang clan, this is a story of Madame Wu and the women in the Wu family compound.

The story begins on Madame Wu’s 40th Birthday. She is beautiful, sophisticated, intelligent and wealthy. But she is not happy. She has spent her entire life as the devoted child, wife, and mother. She obediently entered an arranged marriage to a man she never loved, subserviently gave birth to his children, modestly attended to everyone’s needs, and unaided by Mr. Wu, managed the family estate.

The ancient custom of China was for married men who tired of their wives to take a concubine or second wife, frequently moving this young, attractive, woman into the family compound. As you can imagine, chaos usually ensued.

This fascinating story presents another perspective. Madame Wu’s husband adores her. He has never looked at another woman. He is not pleased when Madame Wu informs him on her 40th Birthday that she is retiring from his bedroom and not to worry, she will find him a suitable concubine to take her place. Thus, begins this entertaining tale.

While enlightening the reader on chinese customs of traditional family life, Pearl Buck also philosophizes about religion, love, duty, and spiritual fulfillment. She was extremely intuitive of human behavior. And there are many beautiful passages; poetic. An example is her description of getting to the truth, “His manner of answering questions was exceedingly simple.....he knew how to put into a handful of words the essence of truth. He stripped the leaves away, and he plucked the fruit and cracked the husk and peeled the inner shell and split the flesh and took out the seed and divided it and there was the kernel, pure and clean.”

If you are a fan of Pearl Buck, or enjoy reading about China’s ancient customs you would probably enjoy "Pavilion of Women". ( )
1 vote LadyLo | Oct 13, 2011 |
On her 40th birthday, Madam Wu sets in motion changes which she thinks will bring her freedom. By bringing a concubine into her household she sets in motion changes which upset the carefully crafted order. This is a commentary on the role of women in turn of the century China, but it more universal than the chosed time or geographic setting. it also raises many questions about freedom, duty, love and happiness. ( )
1 vote CaptainsGirl | Jan 12, 2011 |
I really like Pearl S. Buck. ( )
  lindsaydiffee | Sep 30, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pearl S. Buckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bovenkamp, J.G.H. van den (Sr.)Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was her fortieth birthday.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 155921287X, Paperback)

On her fortieth birthday, Madame Wu carries out a decision she has been planning for a long time: she tells her husband that after twenty-four 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. Few books raise so many questions about the nature and roles of men and women, about self-discipline and happiness.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:29 -0400)

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"Nobel Prize-winning American author Pearl Buck's 1946 novel about a Chinese woman who decides to leave her marriage on her fortieth birthday, choosing a concubine for her landed-class husband and moving on to a life of freedom." *** "Madame Wu, at 40, retires from married life, planning to find a concubine for her husband and become a chief manager of the house of Wu."… (more)

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