|Sons (The Good Earth Book 2)
by Pearl S. Buck, narrated by Adam Verner
This second book of The Good Earth trilogy picks up exactly where the first book, The Good Earth, left off. Wang Lung, the protagonist of the first story, is on his deathbed and his sons solemnly promise not to sell this precious land. But as time passes, the men who have barely known the sweat and blood that went into that land begin to sell it off piece by piece. Meanwhile, Wang “The Tiger” has become a rising warlord. In distant parts of China, a revolution is gaining force. The story takes place in a time of warlords between between Imperial China and WWII. It focuses most of its attention on Wang the Tiger and his slow rise to power, though it jumps over to Wang Lung’s other sons frequently.
This book was powerful – almost as powerful as the first. It was a story of disintegration and rebellion. It showed how dedicated sons of a hard-working land-owner can become soft and negligent with wealth. The sons of Wang Lung rebel against his wishes not to sell his land. Their sons become even softer and less willing to fight for the wealth they’ve been born into. And, of course, the seeds of revolution are rumored but never seen.
Buck’s writing is as subtle as it is powerful. I found myself learning a bit of Chinese history while listening, even though there was no outright explanation of what was going on. It just became clear. What’s more, it made me want to read more about the fall of Imperial China, the time of warlords, and the subsequent revolution. To me, the fact that she can teach and make me crave to learn more shows what a fantastic author she is. I definitely recommend that everyone interested in classics pick up a copy of The Good Earth. And if they really enjoyed it, this is a fantastic sequel.