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The Good Earth

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Winner of 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

An Oprah’s Book Club Selection

A USA Today Bestseller

A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

A Booklist Editors’ Choice, December 2007

This Pulitzer Prize–winning classic 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.

Editorial Reviews

The Good Earth has style, power, coherence, and a pervasive sense of dramatic reality.”

New York Times Book Review

“A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe.”

New York Times

“One of the most important and revealing novels of our time.”

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“One need never have lived in China or know anything about the Chinese to understand it or respond to its appeal.”

Boston Transcript

“A beautiful, beautiful book. At last we read, in the pages of a novel, of the real people of China.”

Saturday Review

“To read this story of Wang Lung is to be slowly and deeply purified; and when the last page is finished it is as if some significant part of one’s own days were over.”

Bookman

“With the first chapter, a wonderful rendition of a time-honored story begins. Anthony Heald captures Buck’s commentary on the human condition with a humble tone that matches the poignant life of Wang Lung and his wife, Olan, as they eke out a living in rural China. Heald’s performance pays homage to the novel’s historical integrity in its detailed account of the Boxer Rebellion and its aftermath. This is an outstanding production of Buck’s most famous work.”

AudioFile

“Heald’s beguiling voice is used to great effect in his impressive reading of this 1932 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel...Heald does not attempt a Chinese accent in his reading of this classic. Instead, he softly eases into tonal shifts...His wise decision not to force a false sound into his reading allows listeners to fully enjoy and luxuriate in the lovely cadence of the narration. A beautiful writer, Buck is a master at controlling the narrative while spinning out delicate and sublime sentences. Heald reads them perfectly, doing what should be done with all literary classics produced in audio format—letting the words take over so that listeners experience the text in a way so profound that they easily immerse themselves into the plot and fall under the writer’s spell. Heald’s fabulous reading is a great achievement, and his subtle changes in tone and inflection to indicate wizened old men and others of varying ages add authenticity to this timeless story. An essential purchase for well-rounded audio collections.”

Booklist

4 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5
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Rating Distribution

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4 out of 4 (100%) recommend this product

Write a review
    • 5/5

    Awesome book!

    Laurie October 4, 2014
    Nicely written. Good book. Pleasantly surprised. Narration was perfect. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story.
    No 0 | Yes 0
    • 5/5

    Surprisingly great book

    Chestine August 7, 2013
    I wasn't sure what to expect fomrthis audiobook. I got hooked into the story right away, the narrion was great and I thought it was very enjoyable. Would reccomend to a friend.
    No 0 | Yes 0
    • 5/5

    Timeless classic, engaging narration

    Richard July 15, 2013
    There are already many detailed and in-depth reviews of Pearl Buck's classic, Pulitzer-prize-winning novel about the life of a Chinese peasant who above all, values "The Land". I simply want to applaud the first-rate, engaging narration of Anthony Heald, who from the first line to the last gives life and depth to the story and especially the characters. The voicings, characterization, and the pacing were all superb. Highly recommended.
    No 0 | Yes 0
    • 5/5

    Amazing...how did I not read (listen) to this book before now?

    shawn July 2, 2013
    I have no idea how I missed reading "listening" to this book before now...its a Pulitzer Prize winning book, is required reading for many literature classes and everyone in my family has read this book but me... I also love books that tells me about another time and place (China) and have been rereading the classics as an adult for years.

    Now that I have read it. I do think it should be required reading. I really got caught up in the characters and their lives, especially the first half of the book. By the second half I was a bit annoyed with some of the characters but not enough to put the book down. Now that the books done I will be getting the two other books in the series.

    I visited China several years back and spent one day in a culture tour lead by a very modern and talkative young lady. She talked fast and no stop for 6 or so hours. I loved her candor (she drove some of the people on the bus nuts though) and the information she gave. I thought of her stories and opinions often in reading this book since this book covers many of the same issues as viewed by a Chinese farmer in days gone by (when these views were the norm). Views that girls are "less than" for one. In the book girls are often called "slaves" instead of daughters. Female infanticide, the selling of female children as slaves and foot binding are viewed as part of life in this book. While this is sad, it does reflect the culture of the that time in China. The book also alludes to various periods of Chinese history that are quite interesting. I believe the next books will cover the culture revolution.
    No 0 | Yes 1

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Author Biography

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973), the daughter of missionaries, was born in West Virginia but spent most of her time until 1934 in China. She began writing while in China and published her first novel shortly after returning to the United States. Her novel The Good Earth was the bestselling fiction book in the United States in 1931 and 1932, and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1938 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.”

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Reader Biography

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.

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