The Good Earth – Pearl S. Buck (1931)


Pearl S. Buck is a Nobel prize winning author, and reading The Good Earth makes it clear why this is. Following the story of the family of Wang Lung, a poor farmer, who dreams of one day owning land, his own, and more, The Good Earth introduces the reader to pre-revolutionary China. As the fortunes of the wealthiest family in town fail, Wang Lung takes every opportunity to advance his, eventually becoming owner of the land and position he so coveted. Buck’s lyrical writing is beautiful, and the reader feels a part of this world so far removed from our own. A world with concubines, and multiple marriages, a world where the binding of feet was a mark of status, a world where sons and daughters are developed into the positions they will hold in life by their father’s will. To me, the greatest humanity in the book stems from Wang Lung’s relationship with his daughter, referred to as The Poor Fool. Weaving a tapestry of family life, a society gone by, the importance of a land of one’s own, and the effect that such a large discrepancy between the rich and the poor have on a civilization, The Good Earth is an amazing read. 356 pages

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