Tag Archives: the good earth

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (unabridged audiobook read by George Guidall): I’d heard good things about the tale of Wang Lung’s life in preindustrial China and his rise from poor farmer to wealthy family man, but for one reason or another I’d never picked up a copy. Now I have, and though the plot was a touch slow at first, I must say it’s well worth the read. You learn quite a bit about the culture and lifestyle of the times without feeling like you’re reading a history book. And with Buck’s tender narration, even the most heinously primitive ideas – such as “woman” being synonymous with “slave” – came across more as The Way Things Were than something that stirred much righteous anger in me. Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan are very sympathetic, and there were times when I almost cried. Very moving, very educational, very memorable.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Good old whitewashed Hollywood

I’m currently reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. As with most books I read that have been translated to the big screen, I put the movie on my Netflix queue. However, having seen the trailer, I’m a little worried that the film will be unintentionally amusing. After all, the main characters, all of whom are Chinese, are played by a Ukrainian, a German, an Austrian, and a couple of guys from Ohio. Yes, yes, I know that the main characters were always played by white people no matter what, but looking at it from a modern standpoint is…well, just look at the makeup!

Anyway. I’m enjoying the book now that it’s starting to pick up (the first half dozen chapters or so were pretty slow); as the movie claims to “be” the book, perhaps it’ll be good enough that I’ll forget the painfully non-Asian actors in cast of all-Asian characters. We’ll see.

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