Grateful Web Book Club & Review: The Good Earth

Original title: The Good Earth

Translated in Dutch: De Goede Aarde

Author: Pearl S. Buck

She lived from 1892 until 1973. She grew up in China, where she lived and worked for 38 years. The Good Earth was her second book she wrote, which was published for the first time in 1931. It was the best-selling book in 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize. In 1938, Buck won the Nobel Prize in literature. She was the first American women to do so. She wrote more than 70 books, in which she revealed social and political abuses of pre-communistic China.  More details about the author are found here.

Short summary:

The book starts with the preparations of the wedding of Wang Lung and O-lan. Wang Lung is an illiterate farmer, who only has knowledge of the value of his land. O-lan was a slave in a rich family. In this marriage, three sons and two daughters are born. Although they know times of poverty, later on they are doing very well, and Wang Lung becomes a big landowner. He hopes at least one of his sons will take over his land; the land on which he worked night and day..  You can find a plot summary at the following address.

In Belgium, the book is published by "Atlas". The book forms part of the series "The Twentieth Century".

Our comments on the book:

-    The book is written in a flowing style, and it is easy to visualize the situations described, which makes the reading even more agreeable.

-    The situation man – woman is portrayed very well: one can imagine him- or herself very easily in the situation of the different characters, in what is going on in their minds.

-   One remarkable point in the book is that, compared to us, they have another opinion as regards death: they buy the coffin before the person in matter has died. I don't know if it is still like that today…?

-     The book is really a must: don't start reading it when you don't have much time; it is really addictive!



anonymous's picture

This book is incredible and has become a favorite across 3 generations in my family. I am stunned that a review landed here. Perhaps this website will become a classic, too!

anonymous's picture

o-lan is a hero. this book is wonderful. great story about family dynamics.


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