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Download The Good Earth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Good Earth Audiobook, by Pearl S. Buck Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (212,324 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pearl S. Buck Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The House of Earth Trilogy Release Date: September 2007 ISBN: 9781455188277
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"The Good Earth" is set at the beginning of the 20th century in rural China. It's protagonist is a poor young farmer named Wang Lung, whose parents have arranged for him to marry a 20-year-old slave named O-lan.

Used to back-breaking work, O-lan makes a wife who aims to please her new husband in every way. He holds on to many of the traditions of the past, and particularly to the custom of foot binding. O-lan gives her husband a son and then another. By all practical accounts, Wang Lung should be happy and satisfied.

Over the years, the wealthy and powerful Hwang family, who had been O-lan's owners, experiences their own successes and failures. They spend far too much money and the wife is addicted to opium, another costly and decadent habit. To raise funds, they sell some of their lands to Wang Lung, whose wife has helped him manage their own household more wisely.

"The Good Earth" follows these two families over the coming years and decades and the listener is caught up in the characters, the epic events based on authentic historical events and in the timeless themes of greed, pride and the rise and fall of families, as well as the struggle to maintain time-honored traditions against an ever growing push to achieve in a modern world.

Pearl S. Buck was born in 1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia. She spent her childhood in China with her missionary parents. Although she attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College in the United States, she returned to China and lived many more years with its people.

Buck wrote a number of novels, including East Wind, West Wind. Sons, and A House Divided. The Good Earth, published in 1931, was her second book.

The Good Earth spent many months on the New York Times Bestseller List, as well as other, best-seller lists. It earned Buck the Pulitzer Prize and the William Dean Howells Medal, in addition to a later Nobel Prize for Literature.

This Pulitzer Prize–winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers, but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Good Earth has style, power, coherence, and a pervasive sense of dramatic reality.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe.”

    New York Times

  • “One of the most important and revealing novels of our time.”

    Pittsburgh Post Gazette

  • “One need never have lived in China or know anything about the Chinese to understand it or respond to its appeal.”

    Boston Transcript

  • “A beautiful, beautiful book. At last we read, in the pages of a novel, of the real people of China.”

    Saturday Review

  • “To read this story of Wang Lung is to be slowly and deeply purified; and when the last page is finished it is as if some significant part of one’s own days were over.”

    Bookman

  • “With the first chapter, a wonderful rendition of a time-honored story begins. Anthony Heald captures Buck’s commentary on the human condition with a humble tone that matches the poignant life of Wang Lung and his wife, Olan, as they eke out a living in rural China. Heald’s performance pays homage to the novel’s historical integrity in its detailed account of the Boxer Rebellion and its aftermath. This is an outstanding production of Buck’s most famous work.”

    AudioFile

  • “Heald’s beguiling voice is used to great effect in his impressive reading of this 1932 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel...Heald does not attempt a Chinese accent in his reading of this classic. Instead, he softly eases into tonal shifts...His wise decision not to force a false sound into his reading allows listeners to fully enjoy and luxuriate in the lovely cadence of the narration. A beautiful writer, Buck is a master at controlling the narrative while spinning out delicate and sublime sentences. Heald reads them perfectly, doing what should be done with all literary classics produced in audio format—letting the words take over so that listeners experience the text in a way so profound that they easily immerse themselves into the plot and fall under the writer’s spell. Heald’s fabulous reading is a great achievement, and his subtle changes in tone and inflection to indicate wizened old men and others of varying ages add authenticity to this timeless story. An essential purchase for well-rounded audio collections.”

    Booklist

  • Winner of 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, December 2007
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather Elizabeth | 2/18/2014

    " I was first required to read this book in high school. Back then, I would have said that it was the type of book I attempted to read, but never got into. So, I put it down for a couple years and came back to it about a year ago. I re-read it and really enjoyed it. I've read it a few times now and own the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherrie | 2/15/2014

    " I would have given this book five stars, except for the ending. How can a book with such an honest and positive feel to it end that way? I get what the author was portraying, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emma | 2/12/2014

    " I loved how flawed most of the characters were, yet you couldn't help but ultimately be on their side. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Olivia | 2/12/2014

    " This is a difficult book to rate, because it evokes very strong negative and positive emotions. It would be insufficient to only give this book a number out of five and no explanation, because of the diversity of these feelings and especially their relation to the novel as a whole. I hate the protagonist for his treatment towards O-Lan, especially once he gains wealth. At the same time, the book does not express any opinion, it is just a statement of the facts. In short, I hate some of the events in this novel and how they make me feel, but the book in itself cannot be held to blame. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eileen Granfors | 2/5/2014

    " Loved it more this time than the other two times I read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara Lynn | 2/3/2014

    " started out great...but fell off a bit. I am undecided if I should read the other two since this is the one that one the Nobel prize "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 1/28/2014

    " I would like to read more historical fiction books, even non-U.S. historical fiction books like this 'Good Read', so I will rate it, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carey Shea | 1/23/2014

    " I loved this book. Such an interesting story. No wonder Pearl Buck won a Pulitzer Prize for this book. I absolutely recommend it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lara Rose | 1/19/2014

    " one of the few books I really hated "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debarati Gautam | 1/15/2014

    " the book sees the promotion,or some may consider the moral degradation of Wang-Lung from a poor humble farmer to a wealthy landowner,the kind he himself used to hate in his early years. the writer has done a terrific job in portraying the characters beautifully.It shows how girls were considered nothing but slaves and wives were only means of satisfying hunger for sex;all that leaves us thinking about how much society has changed today. Wang Lung glorified the land he owned,more than anything,even his kids showing his greed and his submissive first wife having blind faith on him showing her loyalty. his kids grow up to forget how pathetic their childhood was and these disrespectful brats start fighting over the property of their father. all in all,nice book,a must read from my end. leaves your eyes wet with a glimpse of smile in the corner of your lips :) loved it Pearl S. Buck "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles Bechtel | 1/14/2014

    " I went on a Buck tear when I was in ninth grade. This was the standout. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Giulia | 1/2/2014

    " Hm...I don't know what I was thinking when I picked this book up years ago. I was much too young to understand what the story was truly about, and to think over it, but now I suppose it was a decent story. Really nothing that interested me greatly for I have no particular adoration for Chinese history, but it was a alright read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryjane | 12/31/2013

    " Read it in 5th grade and really liked it...think it's time to re-read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 12/29/2013

    " One of my Favorite Books! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 12/25/2013

    " I think the author should change the name of this book to "The Miserable Life of Women." I'm glad to have read it, and it definitely made me think about how wealth and pride can change a person - or a whole family. A good Book Club pick because there will be lots to discuss. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caryn Leah-Dyke | 12/21/2013

    " I have read this book about 12 times "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 12/20/2013

    " Just as good as I remembered it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice Waterous | 12/19/2013

    " A favorite read as a teen. It made me hungry to know more about other cultures. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luann | 12/16/2013

    " read this book years ago and would love to read again someday "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chal | 12/10/2013

    " After all the years that have passed, this is still my #1 favorite book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 12/10/2013

    " This book won the Pulitzer Prize and known as a classic so I thought I should read it. I found it interesting but not captivating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jec | 12/7/2013

    " What can you say about the good earth that has not been said ... Although there are so many great new books, I feel it is important to go back and read the classics. We had to plod through them in high school but now they offer a new deeper understanding. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Else | 12/6/2013

    " Brilliant. I've read this more than once. Any Pearl Buck is fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rontab | 11/28/2013

    " "If you sell the land, it is the end." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill Wells | 11/25/2013

    " One if the best books i have read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina Batya | 11/21/2013

    " My all time favorite book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sasank Chapagain | 11/15/2013

    " This book is all about life ... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Douglas | 11/13/2013

    " If I had to choose only a handful of books in my library, this would be one of them. It is a beautiful story or China. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenifer | 11/9/2013

    " Still thinking about this one.. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Damon | 7/31/2013

    " A delightful look into another culture at another time and an interesting perspective on the choices that we make. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 7/8/2013

    " One I need to read again to refresh my memory. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robyn | 5/12/2013

    " Loved this book. Gentle and thought provoking classic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gijs | 3/29/2013

    " Het leven van een Chinese boer vanaf zijn trouwdag tot zijn oude dag, waaruit duidelijk blijkt dat geld niet gelukkig maakt. Prachtig, onopgesmukt en helder geschreven, ondanks het nogal oud aandoende Engels. De neutrale stijl doet denken aan 'De Pest' (The Plague) en Things Fall Apart. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Douglas | 1/3/2013

    " If I had to choose only a handful of books in my library, this would be one of them. It is a beautiful story or China. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth Piel | 12/16/2012

    " Ugh...not my cup of tea. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keith Slade | 10/15/2012

    " Very good Chinese story of peasants, hardships, and love. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Siska Primaningrum | 9/11/2012

    " I dont like the main character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Shilstone | 9/4/2012

    " Ms. Buck tells the tale of a poor farming family in early 20th century China. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria Weir | 9/3/2012

    " Another life-changing book! Amazing story of how wealth poisons us slowly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 8/9/2012

    " Eh. It was a good book but I couldn't really get into it. I think it needs to marinate in me for awhile and then I will appreciate it more fully. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sheila Oien | 8/8/2012

    " Did not like this book. The main character. The writing. High expectations may have done it in. Maybe it was the narrator. Listened to the audiobook. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tricia Bayer-burkholder | 6/4/2012

    " I read this in high school as required reading. I thought it was horribly boring at the time. My opinion MIGHT differ now that I am all grown up, but somehow I don't think so, and either way, I don't think I'm willing to give it another try because it just stuck in my memory as being SO boring "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy | 4/26/2012

    " I can't write anything about this book until after next week. And by then I probably won't feel like it anymore. Sorry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chanté | 2/22/2012

    " Tough to rate. A great book, but at the same time frustrating, but thought provoking. What really brings happiness? The main character seemed to lose sight of that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha Johnson | 12/17/2011

    " I loved this book and re read it decades later. I realize all the significance of a western woman writing about China but the images and the poverty and the culture were accessible to me in important ways, nevertheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristi G | 10/5/2011

    " One of my all time favorites!! Classic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sanjiv | 6/23/2011

    " Magic ! The language is simplistic , Oh ! so very simplistic. But what a story. Left me emotionally drained bythe last page "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina | 5/22/2011

    " Read it a long time ago but loved it for it's simplicity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee | 5/21/2011

    " Thought I needed to read a classic as I haven't done that in awhile. LOVED IT! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 5/20/2011

    " This is one of my favorite books ever. I have a copy somewhere at home at all times because every so often I want to read it again ;-) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tara | 5/19/2011

    " I think this book is soo much more than a story about an Asian farmer. The ending is satisfyingly sad and poetic. No one wants to read this book when i recomend it but it has been one of my favorites for a long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Veniece | 5/16/2011

    " I read this again in preparation for going to China. Books you read as a young adult are different when you read them as an older person. When I think about some of the trials in my life and the choices I made, I find it hard to fault others for the choices they make. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elise | 5/14/2011

    " Amazing. I love the writing style and the story is epic! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 5/14/2011

    " Love what this book says about the importance of being connected to the land. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Haven | 5/13/2011

    " I read this in high school, and many times since. I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maxine | 5/13/2011

    " This is a great book. It is very old but it is worth re-reading, or reading for the first time if you are younger. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deepti | 5/12/2011

    " Lovely. Read it at a stretch. So detailed and fine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharleen | 5/12/2011

    " Good book everyone should read once in their lifetime. "

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About the Author
Author Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973), the daughter of missionaries, was born in West Virginia but spent most of her time until 1934 in China. She began writing while in China and published her first novel shortly after returning to the United States. Her novel The Good Earth was the bestselling fiction book in the United States in 1931 and 1932, and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1938 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.”

About the Narrator

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.