Black Elephants's Reviews > The Good Earth

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
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Sep 06, 2010

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bookshelves: fiction
Read in September, 2010

The Good Earth was not what I expected, and that's OK because I really enjoyed Pearl S. Buck's classic.

Narrated from the perspective of the farmer Wang Lung, The Good Earth follows his life as he takes a wife, builds his land, grows his family and enters his twilight years. It is epic in scope, like the planet, and comes full circle, just like our little celestial home. Seasons change, crops grow, hardships come, happiness, too, and Buck winds it all around Wang Lung with great dexterity.

I guess the only con I can think of is that I never really got to know the characters. I had insights into them, but for the most part, their motivations--aside from Wang Lung's--lived behind a curtain. It makes technical sense why Buck is doing this: The passions that rock modern families today were not as intimately shared between a husband and wife or father and sons as they were in her past. For instance, it would have been nice to learn more about what O-lan, Wang Lung's wife, thought about everything, but I understand why the reader doesn't. As her position in life is about being a "slave," perhaps O-lan wouldn't know herself, and she and Wang Lung are not in the kind of relationship or society that would care. She is what she is--a cane for Wang Lung to always use as support--and that is her character in the book.

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Good Earth. I recommend it highly!
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