• Pearl Buck in China

  • Journey to The Good Earth
  • By: Hilary Spurling
  • Narrated by: Hilary Spurling
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (68 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Pearl Buck in China  By  cover art

Pearl Buck in China

By: Hilary Spurling
Narrated by: Hilary Spurling
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $23.09

Buy for $23.09

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The author of the much honored two-volume biography of Henri Matisse unearths the life and work of the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl Buck, whose novels in the 1930's and 40's were the first written for a Western audience to describe ordinary life in the still secret China of the late 19th and early 20th century. Published in 1931, The Good Earth sold tens of millions of copies worldwide and is still in print today.

©2010 Hilary Spurling (P)2010 Oasis

More from the same

What listeners say about Pearl Buck in China

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very good

A poignant analysis of one of the most important artists of the 20th century. This book not only educates the reader about Pearl Buck, her childhood and family life, it paints a detailed picture of pre-revolutionary China; chronicling the lifestyle of the missionaries who struggled to blend with and help the impoverished population there. Excellent non-fiction.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Oh dear, boring. Boring. Boring.

What did you love best about Pearl Buck in China?

The way the author of the book drew from Buck's fiction to elucidate her life.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning about what parts of The Good Earth and other of Buck's books were autobiographical.

How could the performance have been better?

ANYBODY could have done a better job. Someone who actually CARED about the material they were reading would have helped. A little inflection. No hurried, rushed, flat speech totally devoid of intonation. Just because someone has written the book does NOT mean they can narrate it!

Any additional comments?

I will never order another book read by the author without listening to the preview several times.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A biography as gripping as a novel

If you could sum up Pearl Buck in China in three words, what would they be?

Tragic inspiring mesmerizing

What did you like best about this story?

Pearl Buck's life in China was much more complex and interesting than I would have imagined before listening to this book. And tragic too. The biographer doesn't omit any of the gritty, grimy details of her life. And there were many! But they add substance to Buck's portrait and vividly illustrate what a remarkable woman (person) Pearl Buck was and what a remarkable life she had lived.

Have you listened to any of Hilary Spurling’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Pearl Buck's greatest novel was her life

Any additional comments?

I lived for two years in Nanjing and one year in Zhenjiang and I was never informed that Pearl Buck had lived in either city. Obviously the Chinese are conflicted about her. But China was an important part of her life, and for millions -- both Chinese and non-Chinese -- she offered a glimpse of a civilization that they would otherwise have never known.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wy
  • 10-16-11

Fascinating history

I purchased this book based on an interview I heard on NPR. It has taken me a long while to get through the audio version - I wish the NPR book reviewer had been the narrator. This narrator certainly knew her story, but perhaps too well - her bored monotone really detracted from a fascinating history; numerous pronunciation mistakes made it painfully obvious when she needed a break.
However, Ms Spurling has done exhaustive research on Pearl Buck, her family, her inner struggles and the window she opened for the west to view the badly misunderstood culture of China. The first hand accounts of the terror experienced during the Boxer rebellion and the other uprisings and incidents in the 20th century made me wonder how foreigners found the strength to remain in China. I was particularly taken with Pearl Buck's persistent calls for her readers to rethink the purpose and strategies of foreign missions, and feelings of racial and cultural superiority.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and Thorough

Women writers fascinate me. So do odd people, gifted people, and exotically experienced people. Of Pearl Buck I've only read The Good Earth, but now I want more. This is a terrific story, wonderfully written and told by terrific, clear narrator.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating read with some thoughtful insights

The portrayal of life in China at that time is a unique blend of personal memoir and historical journey, with perspectives on some of the often hidden aspects of living the ministry life in that part of the world - as well as here in the U.S. This book inspired me to read her complete trilogy and other writings on historical aspects of life in China, written in elegantly descriptive prose. She is a master story-teller in her later works.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ok, but didn’t care for the narrator

Interesting story. Wish each chapter had been a ‘part’ with separate chapters within. Hilary needed to slow down and take a breath between sections. Sometimes felt like one big run-on sentence.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting history.

The reading was very fast and it was hard to understand at some points. The narrator also did not pause long between thoughts so you had to rewind to allow the brain some transition time. Too much time was spent on Chinese politics; that is entirely a topic on its own! Not having previous knowledge of Chinese politics, especially for this era, one can get lost in these sections. Still, it provided a good cultural and human experience.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mz
  • 11-09-20

Depressing, stressful narration ruins a good book

The story itself is very interesting, but the narration is very depressing to continue listening for more than half an hour at a time. Every time I start listening, I ping pong between 1 star to reflect how it makes me feel or 2 stars to be nice. It makes me angry sometimes what a bad mood it puts me in.

The author didn't seem to have grasped the basics of narration, that you need to open your mouth wide and enunciate with a smile. The result is a monotone and emotionless narration as if the author is regretting the decision to narrate her own book and wants you to feel sorry listening to it too. She reads as if there are no commas, periods, or paragraph breaks, just a long long list of events, one after another, that you better pay attention every close second or you miss an event. A BREATHLESS take of a book for 9 hours. It's extremely depressing, stressful, boring, and a downer even if your day has been great so far.

She also has no idea how to pronounce Chinese and butchers all the Chinese words, which is just a shame, given that she wrote this whole book about someone born and raised in and loves China, but didn't bother to learn the pronunciation of the Latin romanization before narrating this book with so many Chinese location names. Like, there's no soft sounds in Chinese, in particular, no such sound as ks in Chinese, and an X is pronounced like sh! It's so ridiculous listening to her pronouncing every name with an x consonant as ks! So rarely does a narrator butcher Chinese so badly that I cannot even guess what many consonants from her mouth might actually be!

They should have found a professional voice actor to narrate this. The result would have been ten times better. Before that happens, I'll just have to put up with this as this is currently the only biography on Pearl Buck on Audible. I'm only listening to it for the content.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Facinating look into China culture and humanity, but somewhat repetitive.

Fascinating look into China culture and its evolution, as well as that of women’s roles.