“There came a day when summer was ended and the sky in the early morning was clear and cold and blue as sea water and a clean autumn wind blew hard over the land, and Wang Lung woke as from a sleep. He went to the door of his house and he looked over his field. And he saw that the waters had receded and the land lay shining under the dry cold wind and under the ardent sun.
“Then a voice cried out in him, a voice deeper than love cried out in him for his land. And he heard it above every other voice in his life and he tore off the long robe he wore and stripped off his velvet shoes and his white stockings and he rolled his trousers to his knees and he stood forth robust and eager and he shouted,
“‘Where is he hoe and where the plow? And where is the seed for the wheat planting? Come, Ching, my friend–come–call the men–I go out to the land!'”
I can’t believe I lived twenty-five years on this planet without reading this gorgeous (and heartbreaking) book. Pearl Buck’s prose reads like poetry, and the story of one humble Chinese farmer and his self-sacrificing wife is as compulsively readable as it is unforgettable. Like Cry, the Beloved Country and The Grapes of Wrath, Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth is at once the saga of an individual family and an astute portrait of an entire people.
If you haven’t read it, be sure to put it on your summer reading list! And be sure to tell me your recommendations for mine.