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Extended Audio Sample Peony: A Novel of China, by Pearl S. Buck Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00116822429907 out of 53.00116822429907 out of 53.00116822429907 out of 53.00116822429907 out of 53.00116822429907 out of 5 3.00 (1,712 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pearl S. Buck Narrator: Kirsten Potter Publisher: Oasis Audio, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 1850s China, a young girl, Peony, is sold to work as a bondmaid for a rich Jewish family in Kaifeng. Jews have lived for centuries in this region of the country, but by the mid-nineteenth century, assimilation has begun taking its toll on their small enclave. When Peony and the family’s son, David, grow up and fall in love with one another, they face strong opposition from every side. Tradition forbids the marriage, and the family already has a rabbi’s daughter in mind for David. 

Long celebrated for its subtle and even-handed treatment of colliding traditions, Peony is an engaging coming-of-age story about love, identity, and the tragedy and beauty found at the intersection of two disparate cultures.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Peony has the vividness of scene and episode and character and the colorful detail that Pearl Buck's readers have come to expect of her novels in China. New York Herald Tribune
  • There is great simplicity in the telling of this tale. Perhaps it is expected, but it is nonetheless splendid. Saturday Review of Literature

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Meghan | 2/11/2014

    " I never knew that Jews escaped persecution by relocating to China, but Pearl S. Buck tells their story, one of assimilation through kindness, that had me thoroughly engrossed. Peony, a bondmaid in a prominent Jewish household, was a fascinating character in how she demonstrated her love for David, her master. A thought-provoking book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Orrezz | 1/31/2014

    " for a historical novel about tolerence, it doesn't have much of tolerence or hopes for the future of jewish people "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marcy | 1/30/2014

    " I absolutely relished The Good Earth and read a book about Pearl Buck not long ago. I wanted to read other novels by Ms. Buck, and chose this one. It is about the assimilation of one rich Jewish family living amongst the Chinese people. The family, especially the mother of the Ezra family, desires to keep her Jewish heritage alive, and is determined that her handsome son will marry a Jewish woman, daughter of the local rabbi. The Jewish woman is not loved by the son of Ezra, David, and she takes her own life. The son marries a beautiful Chinese woman, which merges his father's and her father's business. Then there is Peony, the homeless child who is brought into this family to befriend David when he was a child. The love Peony and David feel for one another is not realized by David until much later in his life. Peony lives for David by being his wife's companion, along with David's five children. When David, Peony, and family visit Peking, the eunuch of the Palace wants Peony for himself. You will have to read this book for yourself to find out how this saga ends. I did not recognize Pearl Buck as the writer of this tale. I sense that this is a very different book than others she has written. I would like to read more of her novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rebecca Aho | 1/28/2014

    " Fascinating look at China's familial customs of the 1800's, when falling in love had little to do with marriage. "

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