Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

This is an obvious choice. I already told you I dig Pearl S. Buck, so, of course I'm a fan of her most acclaimed novel.

In case you somehow got through high school without having to read it, The Good Earth is the story of Wang Lung, a peasant farmer in a rural part of China yet-untouched by the modern world. Along with his good wife, O-lan (who he completely fails to appreciate), he survives flood and famine - always striving for something better. But when he gets the life of his dreams, it doesn't make him nearly as happy as he thought it would.

Putting it like that makes the book sound like a sappy, morality play. It's not. Buck shapes her simple prose so beautifully you can actually see the sweat dripping off Wang Lung and O-lan's brows as they work together in the fields. This is another book that won the Pulitzer Prize for a reason.

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