Just published this year is a new biography of Pearl Buck by Hilary Spurling. Pearl lived in China for most of her younger years and she identified strongly with the Chinese people. Of missionary background, she had conflicting loyalties all her life. She was born in 1882 in West Virginia. Her missionary parents returned to China when she was 3 months old. Most of her years were spent in China until 1934 when she left China for good. She is possibly remembered best for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Good Earth. It topped the best seller lists in the early 1930’s. However, she had a prodigious literary output and in 1938 she was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
you can see that the subtitle of the book is Pearl Buck in China. Most of this biography is devoted to that time in her life. Much of her writing is indeed autobiographical and derives from her years in China. When she left in 1934 she was in her early 50’s and lived to the age of 80, writing prodigiously all that time. The picture shown here is Pearl in 1938 when she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Pearl died in 1980 and is buried in Vermont. If she had lived longer, I wonder what she would have thought of the handover ceremony in Hong Kong in 1997.
In any event, I found Burying the Bones a fascinating biography and I plan to reread The Good Earth and be on the lookout for some of her other writing.