Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The Good Earth

The Good Earth, written by Pearl S Buck, is 90 years old as of now. The writing therefore is not something we are used to. It is dry and one-dimensional. But then, the character arc, the grip on narrative and its relevance in the context of history as well as today makes it a compelling read. 

I am no one to review a Classic. But I would like to tell you that it took tremendous effort to read it – nearly a month though its has only 352 pages (book size smaller than usual).

One of the reasons, in the hindsight, could be the depth in it. The story is not just about Wang Lung, his father, good earth and farming, his wife O-Lan, or the mistress Lotus or his five children. It is the story of what men were when they were farmers and what men have become with the industrial revolution or even emergence of money as a concept! I really wished the simplicity of life that Wang Lung had until he became a Land Lord.

While I was unable to empathize with the characters (maybe due to the style of writing), I was able to reflect to some of the ideas. For instance, how Wang Lung cares so much about society and what they think of him that he barely recognizes or notices his own family! His wife O-Lan is seen more like another equipment used for farming which enables to bear the fruits of labor – in this context bear sons! Speaking of sons, there is a lot of gravity given to sons and the shame of having daughters. Strangely, daughters are referred to as slaves. But later he reflects in old age that he finds solace from his daughters than sons. Interesting. Of course, there are also some aspects that includes the influence of education in one’s life.

I could go on and on because I spent a good amount of time with this tiny little treasure. I am glad that I didn’t give up on it. And I so wish I knew O-Lan more. She is the hero!

Rating: 4.5/5

Have you read this book? What do you think of it?


  1. I used to like Pearl S Buck, oriental way of thinking is quite similar to us. Earlier sons were important because they were useful, cared for parents, brought dowry and took care of business whereas daughters only took money and went away

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