Saturday 27 July 2013

Buck, Pearl S. "The Mother"

Buck, Pearl S. "The Mother" - 1933

I have been reading Pearl S. Buck novels ever since I was a teenager, so about 40 years now. But there are still so many of her books I haven't read.

I came across this little gem in a used bookshop.

As it happens so often in her books, the author does not reveal the names of the children as this seems to have been quite normal in China. But in this case, there isn't even another name involved. The only one we come across, "the mother" is sometimes called Mrs. Lee.

However, the names don't matter. We get to know a poor peasant woman and her family, her thoughts and her feelings, her hardships, how she leads her life, how she is forced to look after her family, how all her life is just work and responsibility.

I have seldom read a book that goes so deep into the heart of the protagonist. We get to know the traditions in a little village in China, the way girls are married off into another family.

If you want to learn about pre-revolutionary rural China, this is the right book. If you want to read more books by Pearl S. Buck, check all my posts about her here. I suggest you start with "The Good Earth".

From the back cover:

"Within this novel Ms. Buck paints the portrait of a poor woman living in a remote village whose joys are few and hardships are many. As the ancient traditions, which she bases her philosophies upon, begin to collide with the new ideals of the communist era, this peasant woman must find a balance between them and deal with the consequences."

Pearl S. Buck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938 "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces".

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.


  1. I'm like you I started reading Pearl Buck when I was a teenager, didn't recognize this book title at all, on to the Amazon Wish list it will go.

  2. As I mentioned, I only found it by chance. She has written so many that it's possible I don't know them all. LOL. I think a lot of us started reading her books when we were teenagers, at least a certain age group, don't think she is a high priority on the list of today's teenagers anymore.