Nobel Prize Laureate: Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

Although Pearl S. Buck was born in America, she spent the first forty years of her life living in China.

Her novel The Good Earth, which was instrumental in her winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, was chosen as an Oprah book club selection.

Reading Pearl Buck’s writing feels like reading poetry to me. I just love the quiet rhythm of the words. They evoke the simple beauty of the characters and the harsh mystery of China’s ancient culture. —Oprah

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

After writing The Good Earth, which was set in pre-revolutionary China and depicted the lives of ordinary peasants, she went on to write several novels about other Asian cultures. For a list of her impressive work click here.

  In order to help Asian children fathered by US Servicemen all the proceeds from her book Mandala went to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation.

 Years after her death in 1973, a manuscript was found and recently published (2013).  Set in America it deals with the artistic and emotional development of a genius. It begins thus:

The address was in Brooklyn and he had not yet been to Brooklyn. He disliked the subway and he liked to walk, especially in the early morning when the air was still clean and the streets were almost empty.




Pearl S. Buck’s literary reputation was built on her love of justice and her outspokenness against racism and sexism.

There is no such thing as an inferior race



36 thoughts on “Nobel Prize Laureate: Pearl S. Buck

    • Titles, as book covers, are important. They can lure, as in your case, a reader to at least take a glance at the book. Buck is one author worth knowing.
      Have a terrific weekend, Aquileana. 🙂


  1. My husband and I met in high school when we both signed up to study China in our history class. He was a huge fan of Pearl S. Buck. This really brings back those memories of talking to him about her books and all.


    • So sweet. And talking of memories, I was thinking about you and your memoir yesterday while reading Karl Ove Knausgaard’s novel, Boyhood Island. It is a the last of his My Struggle trilogy. The other two are titled: A Death in The Family and A Man in Love. It is an autobiographical/fiction book. You might want to have a look at it for the style of writing, in particular when on page 11 he talks about the different kinds of memories. You can read it on the “look Inside” feature at
      It ought to stir some of your memories. 🙂


  2. Carol – I think she was an extremely talented writer. I learned something too about her personal life. She had a daughter with mental retardation. She wrote about her in a story called The Child Who Never Grew. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking story. And what’s sadly ironic is that her daughter’s mental retardation was caused by phenylketonuria,, a buildup of phenylalanine which is now preventable as a cause of MR. She was quite a person…


    • Thanks for this information, Margot. There is so much to say about her. She was a remarkable woman who not only took care of her own children but also had great concern for orphans.
      The thing about her involvement with Korean babies -whose fathers were servicemen who returned back to the States – is that in Korea a child belongs to the father and thus, these children were denied citizenship. Even today, her foundation continues to help children in need around the world.
      She rightly deserved the Nobel Prize.


  3. Interesting post. I have heard a lot about her writing but to date I haven’t really read much of her writing. You know I’m keeping track of all beautiful writers you share here. I hope I live long enough to get through my TBR, lol. 🙂


    • Buck wrote this novel when she was 78 or so and knew that she was dying. This was in 1973 but the manuscript was only found in 2013. The novel follows the life of Randolph Colfax, a “genius,” and includes his love affair with an older woman. And of course, Buck’s theme of tolerance.
      Thanks, Elke for following. 🙂


  4. I remember when I was assigned this book as a young girl. I think the themes were probably bigger than I understood at the time but i will never forget the way the teacher introduced Buck and her book- with reverence- as if what we were about to read was an epic big deal. I love that this manuscript was discovered so she could ‘write on’ from the grave.


  5. I am so excited to read about this new” book by Pearl Buck! I have read all of the other ones you mentioned. I was so happy to read, “Mandala,” that the proceeds went to her foundation. I am sure she allocated good and universal projects for this money. I had not known that the children from U.S. servicemen were part of this funding. Good to know.


    • I’m impressed that you read all the books. You might be interested in reading my response to Margot Kinberg’s comment regarding the children from US Servicemen. Also, if you haven’t done so, the link I provide to her foundation has so much more on Pearl S. Buck.Once you get on the foundation site, click on her photo. Thanks Robin, for following. 🙂


  6. Carol – Another worthy entry in you Nobel winners series. I haven’t read the book The Good Earth so I have to put it on my TBR shelf. However, I’ve seen the film with Louise Rainer and Paul Muni, which is quite good. Love that Pocket Books edition cover!


  7. What an astonishing list of works. I trawled through it hoping to recognise the novels I read and enjoyed so much in my teens, but I couldn’t be sure about them. all I can say is that delighted in her writing.


I'd love to hear your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s