Pearl Buck in China

Pearl Buck in China

Journey to The Good Earth

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
"The Whitbread Book of the Year-winning author of Matisse the Master presents a tribute to the life and work of the Pulitzer-winning author known for such works as The Good Earth, covering such topics as her fundamentalist upbringing, witness to the Boxer Revolution and two marriages."

Blackwell Publishing
"Pearl Buck is one of the greatest writers on China, and Hilary Spurling has brought her and the China of her time to life with amazing immediacy and perception."---Jung Chang, Author of Wild Swans

"Hilary Spurling has given us a riveting, multidimensional portrait of a writer torn between her Chinese childhood and her American roots. Haunting, yet firmly rooted in Chinese history, Pearl Buck in China shows the real Pearl Buck behind the well-known iconic image."---Hannah Pakula, Author of The Last Empress

"A compelling study of a woman who tried to make sense of the poverty, violence, and suffering she saw as a child in rural China by setting down everything that happened to her, stripping away both the lies of her family and society in her search for self-identity and truth. Spurling's penetrating insight and virtuoso style create a fascinating portrait of an author's coming of age."---Jennet Conant, Author of Tuxedo Park and the Irregulars

"Boldly conceived and magnificently written, original, enlightening, and with a narrative as thrilling as an epic film, Pearl Buck in China is a triumphant landmark in the development of creative biography."---Elaine Showalter, Author of a Jury of her Peers

"From its wonderful opening sentence to its poignant close, this is a superb biography. Spurling has brought her characters to robust life. Readers will learn what they need to know about China in that tumultuous time and place at the beginning of the twentieth century."---Peter Conn, Vartan Gregorian Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, and Author of Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography

"Hilary Spurling's riveting biography should bring Buck and her work back to the forefront of public consciousness as China once again looms large in our political and cultural lives. A marvelous book."---Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times (London) and Author of Ariel's Gift

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."

Pearl wrote about the realities of the only world she knew in The Good Earth. It was one of the last things she did before being finally forced out of China to settle for the first time in the United States. She was unknown and penniless with a failed marriage behind her, a disabled child to support, no prospects, and no way of telling that The Good Earth would sell tens of millions of copies. It transfixed a whole generation of readers just as Jung Chang's Wild Swans would do more than half a century later. No Westerner had ever written anything like this before, and no Chinese had either.

Buck was the forerunner of a wave of Chinese Americans from Maxine Hong Kingston to Amy Tan. Until their books began coming out in the last few decades, her novels were unique in that they spoke for ordinary Asian people---"translating my parents to me," said Hong Kingston, "and giving me our ancestry and our habitation." As a phenomenally successful writer and civil-rights campaigner, Buck did more than anyone else in her lifetime to change Western perceptions of China. In a world with its eyes trained on China today, she has much to tell us about what lies behind its astonishing reawakening.

Simon and Schuster
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."

Pearl wrote about the realities of the only world she knew in The Good Earth. It was one of the last things she did before being finally forced out of China to settle for the first time in the United States. She was unknown and penniless with a failed marriage behind her, a disabled child to support, no prospects, and no way of telling that The Good Earth would sell tens of millions of copies. It transfixed a whole generation of readers just as Jung Chang’s Wild Swans would do more than half a century later. No Westerner had ever written anything like this before, and no Chinese had either.

Buck was the forerunner of a wave of Chinese Americans from Maxine Hong Kingston to Amy Tan. Until their books began coming out in the last few decades, her novels were unique in that they spoke for ordinary Asian people— "translating my parents to me," said Hong Kingston, "and giving me our ancestry and our habitation." As a phenomenally successful writer and civil-rights campaigner, Buck did more than anyone else in her lifetime to change Western perceptions of China. In a world with its eyes trained on China today, she has much to tell us about what lies behind its astonishing reawakening.

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2010
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416540427
1416540423
Branch Call Number: Biography B855s
Characteristics: xii, 304 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm

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debwalker Dec 13, 2010

"Pearl Buck's journey to writing The Good Earth was a long, tumultuous one, unfolded in this fascinating chronicle of how she was influenced--personally and professionally--by a time and place: rural China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."
Top 10 Books of 2010: Shannon McKenna Schmidt

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