Nowadays I am reading the book “The Good Earth” and it definitely falls in the category of books that should be read at least once in a lifetime.
It has been written by Pearl S. Buck, an American citizen who spent most of her childhood and much of her adult life in China. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.
It is a beautiful story of a poor Chinese farmer Wang Lung, his extremely hard-working and frugal wife O-lan and their family in old rural China where land and sons were valued above all else.
The story that I have read so far narrates their simple wedding, their hard labour on rice fields and what happens when drought dries up the crops and how the family then moves to a city to survive.
The couple then moves back to their fields and Wang Lung acquires more and more land to become a rich farmer. Olan’s life was really tragic though. As long as there was poverty, she was needed to work like an ox without rest and without complaints but as soon as prosperity and wealth comes to their house, her husband found her dull and unattractive and brings home a concubine.
It made me want to stab him with a couple of chopsticks when he takes the pearls from her and gives it to his lovebird. But the book was great and an acute study of human nature with all its strengths and frailties.
I really wish I can find the other two books in the trilogy "Sons" and "A House Divided” but they are rather hard to locate.