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The Good Earth

by Pearl S. Buck

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,599251399 (4.02)642
"This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls" -- from publisher's web site.… (more)
  1. 80
    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. 81
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
  3. 40
    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)
  4. 51
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
  5. 20
    Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck (deeyes)
    deeyes: Dragon seed is similar but better pearl buck book
  6. 42
    Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (ominogue)
  7. 21
    The Plum in the Golden Vase Volume 1 (of 5): The Gathering by Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (orangewords)
  8. 10
    The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Authoress)
    Authoress: Families who go through times of both wealth and poverty are featured in both works
  9. 00
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (charlie68)
    charlie68: Certain thematic elements are similar.
  10. 00
    The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin (charlie68)
    charlie68: Another book about the soul of China.
  11. 11
    Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer (SanctiSpiritus)
  12. 11
    The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre (orangewords)
  13. 12
    Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun (thatguyzero)
  14. 12
    The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh (ominogue)
  15. 23
    Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (jennyl.keen)
Asia (19)
1930s (4)
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» See also 642 mentions

English (236)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Finnish (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (250)
Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
The Good Earth (Oprah's Book Club) by Pearl S. Buck (2004)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
Pearl Buck was an incredible writer. This was the first "adult" book my mom gave me. I was transported to the world of the Chinese peasant trying to survive a drought while living off of the land. Buck's prose spares no pain, deprivation nor joy of every experience this family endured. As an early adolescent in a first World country, The Good Earth opened my eyes and heart to how lucky we are. ( )
  Windyone1 | May 10, 2022 |
An incredible piece of work really and easy to see why it won a Pulitzer. I don't give five stars out every time, but this book deserves it. ( )
  charlie68 | Jan 22, 2022 |
I think what I liked about this book was that it followed the ups and downs of Wang Lung, through the good and the bad. It also showed the good and bad parts of his character and faithfully records all of his decisions. I like how the style was ritualistic, and many details popped up over and over to highlight different events. And in the end it brings you back to the beginning, with a greater understanding of generational differences and the culture of pre-revolution rural China. ( )
  Monj | Jan 7, 2022 |
Buck was the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer prize for literature in 1938. Later, I will search if there are any biographies about her, as she seems to have been a very interesting person, vested in addressing civil and women’s rights.

I’m usually a bit suspect when I read book about a country written by non-native individuals because so much can be misconstrued or misunderstood. It helps that Ms. Buck spent a good portion of her childhood in China. Although I did cringe a little in some sections wondering what individuals of Chinese heritage think of her work, I soon immersed myself in the story of Wang Lung and O-Lan.

The writing style is simple (sometimes too simple and Bible-like), but it’s simplicity was a good counterbalance to the heaviness of some of the themes: devotion to family, responsibility, cultural changes, and the role of land as the anchor to steady a family and allow them to prosper. Wang Lung was convinced that “Land is one’s flesh and blood” and his connection to it was steadfast to the end, which makes the ending so heartbreaking to me.

I wanted to know so much more about O-Lan. I loved her. I was angry at Wang Lung at times. I mourned her.

Now I want to read the other two books in the trilogy: Sons and A House Divided.
  Eosch1 | Dec 30, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Buck, Pearl S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Damiano, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kortemeier, S.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malling, LivTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendes, OscarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mulder de Dauner, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simon, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zody, BepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
This is the book; do not combine with the film.
Film ISBNs: 0792803825, 0790793083
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls" -- from publisher's web site.

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