Pearl of China: A Novel by Anchee Min (PDF)



Ebook Info

  • Published: 2010
  • Number of pages: 289 pages
  • Format: PDF
  • File Size: 1.25 MB
  • Authors: Anchee Min


It is the end of the nineteenth century and China is riding on the crest of great change, but for nine-year-old Willow, the only child of a destitute family in the small southern town of Chin-kiang, nothing ever seems to change. Until the day she meets Pearl, the eldest daughter of a zealous American missionary.Pearl is head-strong, independent and fiercely intelligent, and will grow up to be Pearl S Buck, the Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning writer and humanitarian activist, but for now all Willow knows is that she has never met anyone like her in all her life. From the start the two are thick as thieves, but when the Boxer Rebellion rocks the nation, Pearl’s family is forced to leave China to flee religious persecution. As the twentieth century unfolds in all its turmoil, through right-wing military coups and Mao’s Red Revolution, through bad marriages and broken dreams, the two girls cling to their lifelong friendship across the sea.In this ambitious and moving new novel, Anchee Min, acclaimed author of Empress Orchid and Red Azalea, brings to life a courageous and passionate woman who loved the country of her childhood and who has been hailed in China as a modern heroine.

User’s Reviews

Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:

⭐Growing up in Mao’s China, author Anchee Min was taught to denounce the writings of Pearl Buck. After leaving China as an adult, Min is given a copy of The Good Earth and is overwhelmed with the beauty and accuracy with which Pearl Buck portrays China and its people. This is the inspiration behind Pearl of China. It is Ms. Min’s way of paying honor to Pearl Buck and to the people of China. Since Pearl Buck is my all-time favorite author, I was naturally drawn to this book.Pearl Buck was raised in rural China by American missionary parents. Undoubtedly, her incredible ability to tell the story of China and its people through literature is unparalleled. Ms. Min’s tribute to Pearl Buck is executed through the blending fact and fiction. Taking on the voice of Willow, a fictional friend of Pearl, Ms. Min gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Pearl Buck. Buck is portrayed as most closely identifying with her Chinese heritage, however, not all Chinese people want to claim her. When in America, Pearl feels out of place and misses her Chinese home.Pearl of China sheds light on several historical periods in China. I found the writing to be somewhat dry at times as the sentence structure is repetitious and unvaried. Additionally, I found some of the story to be a little far-fetched. For example, a 99 year old man living in an area with poor sanitation and no medical care lives through periods of torture and imprisonment and comes out unscathed. Furthermore, with all of the suffering and dreadful treatment of the Chinese people, I was surprised at the lack of emotion the book evoked. Ms. Min is too matter-of-fact in her approach as she chronicles the story of Willow and Pearl. Only at the very end of the book did I sense Willow demonstrate any believable emotion. I felt the book could have been written with so much more passion.While Anchee Min’s tribute to Pearl Buck and the Chinese people is worth reading, I give it 4 stars for the flatness of the prose and its inability to elicit an emotional response.

⭐I thoroughly enjoyed this novel because it drew such a fantastic friendship between Pearl and Willow. Both characters are well defined and believable, their endearing friendship enviable. I’ve read another book by Min which I didn’t care for, but I’m glad I decided to read this one and will be happy to recommend it to my family and friends. Colorado Jim’s wife, Glenna

⭐What a tribute to Pear S. Buck – I loved the story – and have read all her books , this is one of my favoriites.She is such a talented writer – Once I start I cannot put the book down – I love to read -I read every day – and I feel honored to have access to writers of her caliber.

⭐This novel is like a peephole looking into a period of Chinese history. In the 1890s, Pearl and Willow met each other in a small town by The Youngtze River in southern China. They became friends and their friendship lasted throughout their whole life – until the 1970s. Their lifetime overlapped with China encountered hard transitions: the Nationalists threw over the last dynasty in 1911, and the Republic of China was established thereafter following. The Chinese Communist Party merged in 1921 and developed rapidly, and soon became a rival of the Nationalists. Then, to make matters worse, Japan invaded and occupied China from 1931 to 1945. After the Japanese had been driven out, the three-year civil war burst up between the Nationalists and Communists. Finally, the Communists defeated the Nationalists and established the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The new China struggled in cruel political movements in the 1950s and 1960s. The political struggle triggered the Cultural Revolution in 1966, it sent China into the disaster – the entire country became a place of chaos for ten years. Such progressive process was like a hard long march. Hundreds of Million Chinese shed their blood and tears over the road. Pearl and Willow were the witnesses as well as the victims. Their love and cry, hope and desperation were manipulated mercilessly by the social environment. They always tried to change their life. However, when the social force was hundreds of times more powerful than a person’s ability, how one could fight with his fate? So, Pearl and Willow could never escape their misfortune. Anchee Min told the story vividly; scene by scene showed what happened to China and how Chinese people suffered in those years.

⭐This book is a fictionalized story of Pearl S. Buck. Basically, it is a story well told. It doesn’t even pretend to be true. But, as Pearl Buck loved China, this author loves Pearl Buck, and brings her to life as a true heroine.Told though the eyes of her childhood companion, the reader comes to understand how much Pearl loved China. She was the daughter of Christian missionaries. Her father was harsh, her mother loving. Pearl spoke Chinese fluently and loved the land and the people. She went to school in America though, and came back to China with her American husband. The marriage was not a happy one and the only child she bore was mentally retarded. However, she rose above her difficulties, spent lots of time with her narrator friend, but eventually was chased from China as the Communist regime came into power and forced her out.There are a lot of details about life in China then as this narrative becomes not so much about Pearl but about the narrator who lived through the cultural revolution, spent time in prison and, as an old lady eventually went to America to visit Pearl’s grave.I did enjoy the book but I couldn’t help but wonder which parts were true and which were based on fiction. I understand that there is a true biography of Pearl Buck around and I hope to read it one of these days. In the meantime, though, “Pearl of China” honors her memory.

⭐Pearl of China’ gives you a insight into China before the revolution and into growing up under Mao. At the same time it is areal account of Pearl Buck’s years in China; Buck lived 40 years in China and 40 years in the US and later became a writer acknowledged by the Nobel Prize. I learnt a lot about Buck, about China and about Christianity arriving in China. in the search for understanding China and the Chinese this is a good source. I read this book after finished Ming’s book, The Cooked Seed and I am now reading The Good Earth by Buck, her most accomplished novel. What a feast…I gave four stars and not five, because I feel the first and second parts of the novel are not fully balanced. We are running too quickly through the Mao years. But the book is about Pearl so there are reasons for this. One should read more of Ming and hopefully get the whole picture. I enjoyed her book so far tremendously.

⭐I was unaware when I purchased this book that the Pearl in question was a well-known literary figure with a fascinating back story.This story is narrated through the eyes of a childhood friend and is full of unexpected twists and turns. The events described may not be entirely accurate – it is a work of fiction after all – but there is horror, pathos, humour and more to keep the reader gripped to the end.

⭐Prompt delivery, the book was in very good condition. This was an excellent read and an absolutely fascinating storyline. I cannot recommend too highly. An amazing story, so sensitively written. I was totally absorbed from start to finish. After reading the book I then had to go on to read The Good Earth!

⭐Ineresting book. Good quality.

⭐I look forward to re-reading this. I had forgotten that I already have it.. Anchee Min’s books are very enjoyable.


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