Patron Recommendation: Pearl Buck in China

Publisher’s Summary:
One of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary Americans, Pearl Buck was the first person to make China accessible to the West.

She recreated the lives of ordinary Chinese people in The Good Earth, an overnight worldwide bestseller in 1932, later a blockbuster movie. Buck went on to become the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Long before anyone else, she foresaw China’s future as a superpower, and she recognized the crucial importance for both countries of China’s building a relationship with the United States. As a teenager she had witnessed the first stirrings of Chinese revolution, and as a young woman she narrowly escaped being killed in the deadly struggle between Chinese Nationalists and the newly formed Communist Party.

Pearl grew up in an imperial China unchanged for thousands of years. She was the child of American missionaries, but she spoke Chinese before she learned English, and her friends were the children of Chinese farmers. She took it for granted that she was Chinese herself until she was eight years old, when the terrorist uprising known as the Boxer Rebellion forced her family to flee for their lives. It was the first of many desperate flights. Flood, famine, drought, bandits, and war formed the background of Pearl’s life in China. “Asia was the real, the actual world,” she said, “and my own country became the dreamworld.”

Our patron’s comment: “It was wonderful!”

Check the catalog to see if Pearl Buck in China is available for checkout

If you’ve read Pearl Buck in China by Hilary Spurling, you may also enjoy:

  • On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family by Lisa See
    “Out of the stories heard in her childhood in Los Angeles’s Chinatown and years of research, See has constructed this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family, a work that takes in stories of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and domestic heartache, secret marriages and sibling rivalries, in a powerful history of two cultures meeting in a new world. 82 photos.” [Check the catalog for availability]
  • Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead by Paula Byrne
    “A terrifically engaging and original biography of Evelyn Waugh and the family that provided him with the most significant friendships of his life and inspired his masterpiece, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED.” [Check the catalog for availability]

  • Pearl of China by Anchee Min
    “In the small southern town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, young Willow and young Pearl S. Buck, the headstrong daughter of zealous Christian missionaries, bump heads and embark on a friendship that will sustain both of them through one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history.” [Check the catalog for availability]
  • Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
    “When 11-year-old Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life, like her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition, Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.” [Check the catalog for availablity]
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