Read advance reader review of Pearl of China by Anchee Min, page 2 of 5

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Pearl of China

A Novel

by Anchee Min

Pearl of China by Anchee Min X
Pearl of China by Anchee Min
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 288 pages

    Mar 2011, 304 pages


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There are currently 35 member reviews
for Pearl of China
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  • Anna S. (Auburn, AL)
    A Gem of a Book
    I love this book! It started off rather slowly but quickly captured my interest. It is a novel but the characters are real historical figures and that gives the book the ring of truth. It has inspired me to re-read The Good Earth as well as some of Pearl Buck's other books, and to read Anchee Min's Red Azalea. The mark of a good book for me is that it inspires me to expand from it, and Pearl of China definitely does that for me.
  • DawnEllen J. (Riverside, CA)
    Pearl of China
    With Pearl of China Anchee Min claims author Pearl Buck, who is Western by appearance, but who has " Chinese soul," as a legitimate voice for the Chinese people of whom she wrote so lovingly. Grounded in the perspective of the imaginary Willow Yee, the story follows the girls' early escapades as playmates in Chin-kiang. They reunite as married women upon Pearl’s return from her education in the States and find comfort in their friendship and an outlet in their respective writing.

    Through her skillful weaving together of historical events and the parallel threads of the lives of these two resilient and indomitable women, Min crafts a story that offers a Chinese perspective on the essence of the woman whose perspective on China was, and perhaps still is, completely unique among Western writers. Pearl of China affirms Buck’s place among a generation of Chinese who are at last able to read her works and allows Western readers a brief glimpse of the complex cultural history of China.
  • Barbara S. (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)
    Pearl of China
    Anchee Min in her new novel, Pearl of China, has written a beautiful and compelling story of friendship between two young girls as they travel through life. Beyond the life of the two girls, Anchee Min also intertwined themes from American/Chinese politics, religious differences, family and love, creating a novel of amazing depth.

    I wholeheartedly recommend this gift of a story to all my friends, and to all members of BookBrowse. I will carry this novel in my heart forever.
  • Liz G. G. (South Pasadena, CA)
    Pearl of China
    Ms Min not only captures Pearl Buck’s love for China and her people, she also includes the spirit of Chinese literary traditions. While this short novel may appear to be very simple, it can be read on many levels. In addition to Pearl Buck, there are many interesting characters: her father, Absalom; Pearl’s mother, Carie; Pearl’s friend Willow who is the narrator; Willow’s father, Papa; Willow’s husband, Dick Lin and even a Chinese war lord called Pumpkin Emperor. Many of the major characters are challenged to test their core beliefs in order to survive. At the end of the book, Papa comes home comes from his fourth arrest for spreading poisonous thoughts. He avoids torture by a quick confession. He quotes a Chinese saying: “A hero is someone who doesn’t swim against the current.” He explains his strategy as a way to avoid unnecessary sacrifices.

    The story spans the period from the Boxer rebellion to present day. The historical background is a bit thin for the many interesting and complex characters presented. Nevertheless it is a wonderful book and should be a great selection for book clubs.
  • Sarah B. (Streamwood, illinois)
    Pearl of China
    This is a beautiful story about friendship, changes, and the country of China. China at times seems like a main character in this fictionalized story of the life of Pearl S. Buck, as we see the changes the nation goes through. I suppose it was, as it was important to her until the day she died.

    I think my favorite part was actually the friendship between Willow and Pearl. I think most of us would love to have a friendship that transcends decades and continents.
  • Martha L. (Warner, NH)
    Tribute to forever friends
    A national icon, a literary spirit and a woman who knew how to be Chinese all describe Pearl S. Buck. Anchee Min has written a new book called Pearl of China, coming out in April, about Pearl’s early life in China. While the book is nominally about Willow Lee and her life long best friend Pearl S. Buck and their families, it is really a tribute to the mutual devotion of a people. Pearl's early life and her love for China and its people sing out from the pages in the midst the War with the Japanese and the Civil War. The main characters struggle to survive while finding the beauty in the language of poetry and writings of the Cultural Revolution.

    This book was a miracle of words. Anchee Min is a gifted writer whose skills bring the reader along her journey. The readers are brought through the years, wars and changes in China. While the book may seem to focus on Pearl S Buck, to me the real heroine was that of Willow Lee and her undying dedication to Pearl S Buck.
  • Amy O. (Scottsdale, AZ)
    Tribute to Buck's Love for China
    I give "Pearl of China" five stars. Told through the voices of Pearl and her best friend Willow, it is joyful, bittersweet and heartbreaking in its portrayal of the lives of the Chinese people and Pearl S. Buck. Pearl and Willow grow up in each others company and although their lives reflect the upheavals in the Chinese political and social landscape there is a very human element throughout. All of the characters: Pearl's single-minded missionary father, her strong but neglected mother, Willow, the poet-lover and others all are painted with a vivid brush which draws you to them. It has been a long time since I first read Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth" and saw the movie. I am glad that we again can share in her life and stories and perhaps introduce a new generation to this important author. It would be great I think to have a new movie version made of The Good Earth. I am also left wondering how people in China today feel about Pearl.

Beyond the Book:
  Pearl S. Buck

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