The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one hell of a classic. I kept thinking of The Grapes of Wrath during the first half of this read this and kept wondering at it. Poverty, want, great toil, and then even more want filled these pages. The Good Earth came out 8 years before Steinbeck's masterpiece and yet my biggest wonder is why the Good Earth isn't better known, more well known, than Steinbeck.
Is it because it happens to Chinese characters rather than Okies from Oklahoma?
Let's let that question pass on by for a moment because this book deserves to stand on its own worth. The Earth is indeed the source of all wealth... but definitely not all sorrow. Some, sure, but most of the sorrow in these pages are created by those who do not understand or work the land. This is an important point. As important as that in Candide, but more poignant, emotional, and effective in this novel.
High praise? I think so. And well deserved.
I will like classics of all types for many different reasons, but some are much more impactful to me than others.
This one has that punch. Glorious, wonderful, sad, and so cruel. Life, with tragedy and small bits of joy here and there... but what an epic! This ought to be on the required reading lists except for one small point... it should be enjoyed and cherished without coercion. :)
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