(The following may contain “spoilers” of the story, so stop reading this here and take my recommendation and read it, particularly if you are new to reading Pearl S. Buck and/or know little about traditional Chinese culture.)
This was Buck’s first novel and it sets the path to her writing of other novels of China and the Far East. If you haven’t read one of her books, and especially if you do not know much about traditional Chinese culture, this work might be a great eye-opener. Personally, I became a little bored with the main character’s taking so long to see how new thinking and exposure to the West was changing China, arguably for the better. In summary, a Chinse woman marries (Chinese style, parent-arranged) a Western-educated Chinese man while her brother (and importantly for family name-continuation and inheritance, the only one) marries an American woman and brings her home. Both marriages present cultural problems, the latter particularly.
This was such a great story of East meets West. You learn a lot about what each side thinks of each other. It follows a very traditional family and shows what happens to them when some of them become more Western. I definitely recommend it because it's so interesting.
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