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This book has very much the feeling of The Good Earth (first book of the Good Earth trilogy) but set in the period of World War II. It describes how a family in the countryside deals with the tragedy and upheaval of the Japanese occupation of eastern China. Buck delivers stylized language that perfectly captures the feeling of Chinese speech and culture. For example, when the eldest son finds a Chinese woman rather than a Japanese man in the trap he has set, his first question after he pulls her out is "have you eaten?". This will ring true to anyone who has visited China. Buck is a treasure, perhaps an undervalued treasure. How many American writers grew up in China, living among relatively poor people, speaking as a native, and later writing in English. In spite of winning the Nobel prize, she does not get the recognition she deserves. A style every bit as strong as Hemingway and perhaps more substance and political awareness.
The book is so relevant today, when China is the country that America loves to hate and when Japan is looking at re-interpreting its constitution to allow the development of a military. This book will remind Western readers that China was ravaged by Japan (after having been ravaged by Britain). It was interesting to learn that Japan, like Britain, used opium as a tool to destroy China. A wonderful story and a good performance by the narrator.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Dragon Seed to be better than the print version?
I never read the print edition of Dragon Seed.
What did you like best about this story?
Dragon Seed is not just another war story. It is a complex look into the lives of a simple farm family in China during peace time, then as a war approaches, then during and after the struggle. The relationships between the family members and the way they accept their roles in the family and society shocked my western sensibilities. I realized how much I take for granted about being an American in 2013 and how different life could be for me if I lived in a different time and place.
What does Adam Verner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Adam Verner brings sympathy to the story. He sympathetically tailors each character's voice and attitude. He voice is quiet and haunting and lends mystery and foreboding.
If you could take any character from Dragon Seed out to dinner, who would it be and why?
I would take Pansiao because she has to put up with so much of what I would call abuse even from people who are supposed to love her.
Any additional comments?
This is a wonderful book as are all of Pearl S. Buck's books. I got a little depressed reading this however, so I am going after something more lighthearted next time.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful