“Now, five years is nothing in a man's life except when he is very young and very old...
Ugh, I don't even want to write this review, which explains why it's taken me more than two months after finishing the book to put this together. It's hard for me because I ADORED the last Pearl S Buck book I read. Imperial Woman was absolutely fantastic. Hell, I went around China quoting facts from it when I was privileged enough to go. But this just left me so...well...bored.
This audio book (which was narrated well enough by Anthony Heald) bored the crap out of me. The Good Earth follows the life journey of Wang Lung, a young man living in rural, pre-revolutionary China. It maps the whole of his life from his wedding day to his death. And I'm not gonna lie to you, I hated most of it. The book is very much intended to be a study of the life of this time period and place, and usually I'm down with that. But I just couldn't make myself care about anyone in this, and I'm a character driven reader. Wang irritated the crap out of me, despite the fact that he behaved appropriately for the setting. The only character I liked, Wang's first wife, gets so roundly mistreated that I was constantly yelling in my car. And Wang's children are awful.
I love Chinese culture, and learning new facets to it tends to really fascinate me. There was just very little about this book that grabbed my interest and held it, and I think that's sad.
If you want to read a really accurate study of a man's life in China during this time period, go for it. But it is a slog. A very, VERY long slog.