Monday, April 30, 2012
Book Review of #3 A House Divided by Pearl Buck
Author: Pearl Buck
ISBN: 1559210346 (671-78797-7 Version I have)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Part of a Series: House of Earth series: The Good Earth, Sons prequels
Type of book: China, revolution, international student, 1900s, Former AM/WF
Year it was published: 1935 (version I have 1975)
The epic of China begins with soil, and with the simple peasants like Wang Lung whose story was told in The Good Earth. It rises and swells on the fortunes of the warlords and merchants, men like the Sons of Wang Lung. It surges anew in modern China- Communist China- in the third generation of the House of Wang. A House Divided brings Wang's grandson to America, where troubled and alone, he must choose between the old values and the new, between two generations- one dead, one powerless to be born.
The characters are well rounded and understnadable to some extent. In this part, Pearl Buck attempts to explore Wang Yuan's personality; grandson of O-Lan and Wang Lung who seems to have the best from both his grandfather and grandmother and barely any defects of his father and uncles. I read this novel quickly because I wanted to be finished with it as soon as a I can. I sort of liked Wang Yuan, and his sister is very flighty and very modern. The cousins that were featured were the young song of Wang the Merchant, Wang Sheng and Wang Meng; Wang Sheng who looks for beauty but gets disappointed along the way, and Wang Meng the revolutionary. I really didn't like Mei-ling and didn't think she really liked Wang Yuan. I wished that Wang Yuan would have chosen to be with Mary.
Wang Yuan seems to be opposite of the East Wind West Wind couple, at least opposite of the brother and his foreign wife Mary. He is another way of West and East mixture and values. Basically he has control of determining of who he wants to be, and not anyone else.
This is in third person narrative from Wang Yuan's point of view completely. While the previous two books seemed to move at a break-neck speed, the Sons slowing down slightly, in A House Divided, the time slows down completely and we get to completely explore the world of 20th century in China through Wang Yuan's eyes as well as changing values that are going on on China and the way Chinese were treated in America. Unlike Sons and The Good Earth, this novel ends with Wang Yuan still in youth, still in late 20s or early 30s, just as Wang the Tiger lays dying.
June 26, 1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia, The United States
March 06, 1973
Literature ; Fiction, Biographies ; Memoirs, Children's Books
About this author
Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker Buck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938 "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces" and the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1932 for The Good Earth.
Years back I bought a book titled Yellow by Don Lee. I haven't read the whole book, but I glimpsed the last few stories and was shocked and saddened by the fact that he talked so negatively about white women/Asian men relationship, how the American women didn't understand the Korean characters, and that ultimately those Korean men decided they're better off being with a Korean woman rather than an American woman. The second chapter covers that period, when Wang Yuan escapes from China to America. I will kind of spoil the novel; he does not end up with an American woman, but she did have attraction towards him. Also reading something like this reminded me of my own failings; of when I attempted to be with a Korean guy but relationship didn't work out at all.
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)