The Good Earth - Pear S. Buck

Title: The Good Earth
Author: Pearl S. Buck
Pages: 357
Published: 2004 (first published 1931)
Challenges: The Classics Club, Historical Fiction, OfftheShelf, Embarrassment of Riches
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: This 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.  (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: It took me at least until the half-way through the book to get into the book and to actually understand the point of the book and see its importance in the modern literary canon.  Its almost as though the land is a part of Wang Lung, no matter how poor or wealthy he becomes; as though he is a nurturer of the land around him and sees himself as a steward for the earth, treating it in a manner that is respectful and honourable.  The book, in a way, could be a morality story on how to treat the land, in that if one treats the land well and with respect, it will in turn treat you well and with respect; almost an early form of environmentalism before the term was being used frequently.

Bottom line: I would probably recommend this book that enjoy books by the likes of Steinbeck, Hemmingway, and Faulkner.  It has the same sort of epic and literary quality that one can find with those authors (yes, I have read at least one piece of each).  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 17,120


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