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The Eternal Wonder

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,100 ratings  ·  301 reviews
A recently discovered novel written by Pearl S. Buck at the end of her life in 1973, The Eternal Wonder tells the coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax (Rann for short), an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, on a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever—and, ultimately, ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Open Road Media E-riginal (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,100 ratings  ·  301 reviews

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Nov 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Finally published after 40 years, this last book by award-winning author Pearl Buck (The Good Earth) is well-written. It is a study of Rann, who is extremely intellectually gifted, and how these gifts affect his life and relationships. I was drawn in from the first page.
Althea Ann
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I loved 'The Good Earth,' when I was a kid. For some reason I never really pursued her other novels - one of those 'always meant to, but never got around to it' things.

So - I was quite excited to get this from Goodreads' First Reads program. (Thank You!)

Unfortunately, this is not a good book.
The introduction (written by Buck's son and literary executor) makes it clear that he's aware of that. I got that feeling that,after having paid to retrieve the manuscript, which was apparently stolen from
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
It's so unfortunate that Pearl Buck was not able to finish editing this book. I would love to see what it would have become. As it is, I was captivated by this story of a child prodigy nurtured well by loving parents who desired for him to wonder eternally and saw him also as an eternal wonder. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the last 25 pages, my interest dropped right off. I simply did not care how it ended. I skimmed through them to be true to my having read the book, but the end was even ...more
Victor Carson
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have read four of Pearl Buck’s most famous novels: The Good Earth, Sons, Pavilion of Women, and Peony: A Novel of China. I was very interested to learn, therefore, that another previously unknown novel, Eternal Wonder was being published, with a forward by one of the author’s adopted sons, Edgar Walsh. Pearl Buck died about 40 years ago in 1973 at age 80. Her son himself is now about 75 years old. According to Edgar, a handwritten manuscript was found in 2013, together with a typed, slightly r ...more
Carol Brill
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I think this is my first Pearl S. Buck book. It was more accessible than I expected, not a book I would have picked if I didn't have to read for a book club, but a quick, easy read. It starts when the main character, Rannie/Rann is in the womb, which didn't immediately engage me but intrigued me enough to keep turning pages. Rann is a very curious genius always wondering and eager to learn--hence, The Eternal Wonder
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is so awful that I am embarrassed for Pearl Buck. The plot hangs on so many coincidences and improbabilities, the writing is not subtle or skilled or lyrical or evocative, nothing. The characters are black or white, so in-your-face with their defining characteristic that there is no suspense or wondering left. The over-reaction of Stephanie in the closing chapters in absolutely unbelievable, perhaps the only surprise in the book, though it is without foundation. I only stuck to the end ...more
David Kinchen
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Eternal Wonder': Pearl Buck's Last Novel Manuscript Discovered in Texas Storage Unit

Acclaimed novelist Pearl S. Buck was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938 for her body of work. She had previously won the Pulitzer Prize for her most famous novel, "The Good Earth," published in 1931 and a bestseller that year and in 1932 and made into a movie in 1937.

Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892 in Hillsboro,
Lynn Demsky
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
"The Eternal Wonder tells the coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax (Rann for short), an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever—and, ultimately, to love. Rann falls for the beautiful and equally brilliant Stephanie Kung, who lives in Paris with her Chinese father and has no contact with her American mother, who abandoned the family when Stephanie was six ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well, I just can't imagine what all the 4 stars are for. Everywhere this kid goes someone is laying out silk pajamas for him, he is a genus, and quite wealthy people are also eager to give their money to him. None of this makes him interesting, he has no real internal/external struggles that make the character someone interesting. The people that enter his life are entertaining but the book itself is boring and dated in funny ways. Don't get me wrong, I love stories that have endured the ages, b ...more
Angela Schaffer
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
By popular request, I have reactivated my long-unused goodreads account. You're welcome all! I thus begin my reviews with Pearl S. Buck's recently discovered novel. Just in case you didn't know, The Good Earth is my favorite novel. Therefore, I was excited to learn of this recently discovered treasure. This novel was lost for forty years and recently edited and posthumously released with the assistance of Buck's adopted son. This novels follows the life of Randolph (Rann) Colfax, an exceptionall ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Pearl Buck is one of my favorite authors so when I read that a manuscript of hers had recently surfaced some 40 years after her death, I was naturally curious. The book is readable and I don't question its authenticity because I have no expertise in that area. However, I will never think of this book in the same category as "The Good Earth" or "Fighting Angel", if indeed I think of the book at all.

And for me, that says it all: Pearl Buck's books are unforgettable and this one is not. It is a sm
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
In the foreword, mention is made that this book could have been improved with some editing and re-writing and I agree. The beginning was too long, the ending was too short. It is classic Buck though and well worth reading.

I felt a connection between Rann's personality and Buck herself--she was a woman of great intelligence. Her explanation of Rann's compulsion to write was revealing. This book takes you on a journey to several countries and Buck provides superb descriptions of the cities Rann v
Mafalda Gomes
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
jesus fucking christ please read it its so worth it, at least for us intellectuals who live in our own heads, we can relate so much with this
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, classics

“Wandering is never waste, dear boy,' he said. 'While you wander you will find much to wonder about, and wonder is the first step to creation.”
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
I like Pearl S. Buck's writing style. It's easy to read and understand, and especially funny. At some point, you forget you're reading a book. That's the experience I had when I read The Good Earth.
Few months ago, I heard that her final novel had been stolen and restored to her family and was going to be published this fall. I was really excited. How could anyone have thought that s/he has a chance to read Pearl S. Buck newly-released novel!
(view spoiler)
Martin Yankov
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Okay, this was disappointing. I've read three other novels by Pearl S. Buck and I more or less loved each of them. This one is... definitely not that good. It was actually an unpublished manuscript, found years after her death. I can totally see why she never bothered to publish it.

It's a coming-of-age story about a genius young boy, who explores the world. He has an exceptional mind, which both a blessing and a curse. The main character is described as breathtakingly handsome and all the women
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-books
This book, with other papers of Pearl S. Buck, disappeared after apparently being stolen around the time of her death in 1973 and found 40 years later in a storage space whose contents were auctioned off for nonpayment of rent. It is now published by the author's daughter, who admits it is flawed; it was edited by her and others.

It has an old-fashioned feel to it, especially regarding the shock and horror expressed by the protagonist at the possibility of a gay relationship, and his mother's ad
Dec 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Major disappointment. I'm a huge Pearl Buck fan---read The Good Earth multiple times. It is very surprising that this The Eternal Wonder is her last book---reads more like a first attempt at a novel---one written at age 14 when the writer is just cutting her writing teeth, lacking much life experiences to add depth.

The characters were flat--Rann, Stephanie,the mother, the professor--none of them had the subtle, layered paint strokes of Buck's earlier works that let you see right into the depths
Hope Barker
Mar 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
Just finished this book for tomorrow's book club. I hardly know what to say. I am stunned by how bad it is. Granted, the introduction by Pearl Buck's son warns us that it has "rough spots" and "is far from perfect" but that is putting it mildly. The whole style of writing and plot is just weird. It begins with the main character still in utero and marches us through the life of a very unrealistic person as he encounters very unrealistic situations with unrealistic outcomes. It's like a fantasy, ...more
Angie (Bussen) Siedell
I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this story. I loved his hunger for knowledge and his wonder early on, but felt his wonder dried up and the story shifted towards more of a romance than I was expecting. Buck's writing deserves four stars, but I keep waffling, wondering if it deserves 3 for the ending. It just felt like two different stories. Like when you see a great movie with a disappointing sequel. I just feel like the book I started and the book I finished were two separate books. All in all ...more
Esther Bos
Dec 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was a disappointment to me. Published posthumously, Pearl Buck hadn't revised and fully prepared this novel for publishing. Hopefully, she would have done it differently. After reading and re-reading and enjoying The Good Earth years after it was published, I was hoping to get another good book from this author, but it didn't happen. The characters were not compelling and the story line was weak.

Pearl Buck's son wrote up the story of her life and of the discovery of this nearly finishe
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recovered and published some 40 years after her death, Pearl Buck's 44th novel, a coming-of-age story, explores Rann Colfax's psychological development from pre-birth to young manhood. Buck's simply elegant style engages the reader in discovering the role of wonder in gaining knowledge along with Rann. She also provides insight into the creative psyche. I gathered enough nuggets of wisdom from this book to fill 13 pages in my reading journal. I think everyone with young children and everyone int ...more
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just read the last page of this book. I almost read non stop, but it gave me headaches doing so. So much to ponder. So many statements made by Pearl Buck showing a deep love of humans without regard to skin colour or nationality. The beginning is brilliant. Life as experienced by a fetus! Her thoughts on Science and Art were so worth thinking about. Always was and still remain a Pearl Buck fan.
Julie Johnson
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Don't read this expecting The Good Earth because it is not. And it is unfair to have such an expectation. This is a work-in-the-making, and I am glad I read it.
Amory Ross
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Late in her career, Pearl S. Buck took on a coming-of-age tale told through the point of view of a male. We are walked through the strange process of The Eternal Wonder's journey by Edgar Walsh, one of Buck's sons. She demonstrated a unique viewpoint for our character Rann. Buck records a path of discovery essentially abandoned by most Americans today.

I was drawn to this book simply because of my proximity to the Pearl S. Buck house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. (The county is not named after h
Drew F.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
In his foreword to the novel, Edgar Walsh (Pearl S. Buck's adopted son) discusses the journey The Eternal Wonder took to publication. Found in an abandoned storage unit in Fort Worth, Texas, the original handwritten manuscript (along with a mistake-riddled typewritten copy) eventually fell into the hands of Buck's family. It was edited further and then came to publication. Walsh admits that it is not polished; since Buck passed away before the handwritten copy was even discovered, the original a ...more
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
So Pearl Buck has written some incredible books (The Good Earth, Peony, My Several Worlds, etc) but this is not one of them. Writing was fluid and enjoyable but the characters were stilted, certainly not real. Dialog was often more philosophical lecture than conversation. But mostly, the plot is what disappoints: a young man is tall, healthy, extraordinarily handsome, brilliant, with a fantastic memory. He is given almost unlimited freedom by his parents, is given a home and virtually unlimited ...more
Jacqueline Fredericks
Interesting read

I received this book for free and read the book because I’ve heard of her and have decided that I’d like to read more older stories to expand my horizons.

Overall, I thought it was a decent read. Theo were some parts that may have disturbed me in the past such as the manner in which she treated the man live interest -a bi-racial woman. I saw the point she was trying to make about her situation, however, looking at this through the lens of 2018., it’s quite troubling.

I felt the sa
Kathy Beth
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enthralling
This book was written in Pearl S. Buck's later years. In the forward, her daughter (one of seven adopted children) wrote that the book was one she was creating in the years before her death. Pearl had become involved with individuals who targeted her fortune, estranging her from family, friends, staff and publishers. After her death the manuscript was stolen from the estate and disappeared for forty years. The family eventually recovered the manuscript but Pearl's personal papers, letters, manus ...more
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Pearl Sydenstricker Buck was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United St ...more
“To take each day as a separate page, to be read carefully, savoring all of the details, this is best for me, I think.” 11 likes
“Wandering is never waste, dear boy,' he said. 'While you wander you will find much to wonder about, and wonder is the first step to creation.” 10 likes
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