Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Finds - April 16

A couple of weeks ago, I heard Anchee Min talking with Melissa Block on NPR's All Things Considered about her latest novel, "Pearl of China." Min was 14, and living in Shanghai, when she first heard of American author, Pearl Buck. At the time, Buck was out of favor in China and Min could find almost no information about her. Years later, a fan gave her a copy of Buck's "The Good Earth" and as soon as Min read the way Buck wrote about the Chinese peasants, "Pearl of China" was born.
In the small southern town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family, Pearl the headstrong daughter of zealous Christian missionaries. She will ultimately become the internationally renowned author Pearl S. Buck, but for now she is just a girl embarrassed by her blonde hair and enchanted by her new Chinese friend. The two embark on a friendship that will sustain both of them through one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history.
Moving out into the world together, the two enter the intellectual fray of the times, share love interests and survive early marriages gone bad. Their shared upbringing inspires Pearl’s novels, which celebrate the life of the Chinese peasant and will eventually earn her both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize. But when a civil war erupts between the Nationalists and Communists, Pearl is forced to flee the country just ahead of angry mobs. Willow, despite close ties to Mao’s inner circle, is punished for loyalty to her “cultural imperialist" friend. And yet, through love and loss, heartbreak and joy, exile and imprisonment, the two women remain intimately entwined.
In this ambitious new novel, Anchee Min brings to life a courageous and passionate woman who is now hailed in China as a modern heroine. Like nothing before it, Pearl of China tells the story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, from the perspective ofthe people she loved and of the land she called home.

Friday Finds is hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading.


  1. I finished this one just this week. It was okay...I like Min's topics and books, but while Empress Orchid felt way too long, this one felt too short. It seemed rushed in parts, and too short for a book that spans the lives of two women.

  2. I really want to read this book but I think I have to read Buck's books first, I know *gasp* I am probably the last one on earth that didn't read anything by her.

  3. I'm hoping to read this soon, but whenever I say that it doesn't happen...LOL

  4. This is one I'd really love to read as well!

  5. Though I have not liked Anchee Min's books in the past, I do want to try this one. The plot sounds very intriguing to me. I'd be interested in hearing what you think of it after you get the chance to read it!