Friday, 4 July 2008

China Sky by Pearl Buck (winner 1938)

Eek! A month since my last post, how slack am I? I actually finished this last week but haven't got around to posting.

China Sky: it was readable and interesting, but I don't know that it really had much to set it above any historical romance. Set in China at some point during the Sino-Japanese war, it tells the story of two American doctors, a man and a woman, with, predictably, romance involved. The problems are that the man gets married on a trip back to the States and his wife turns out to be a whiny, empty-headed China-hater who gets herself mixed up in a traitorous plot involving a Japanese patient/prisoner-of-war at the hospital. It's entertaining and ineluctably moves towards a fairly inevitable conclusion in the grand fashion of tragedy (not that it is a tragedy for most involved) so there's nothing wrong with it as a book - as a Nobel-prize worthy book I'm not convinced.

As I have found out, Buck was raised in China and it shows in her intimate knowledge of the country and the conflict (this was written in 1941 so without the benefit of hindsight). There is a genuine sympathy and esteem for the Chinese people in the book, even though these days it sometimes appears patronising - early on a Chinese doctor tells the American doctor to take safety in an air raid because "If I die, there are others like me, but who will take your place?" In the main, though, it's as firmly pro-Chinese and anti-Japanese as you'd expect.

Worth a read at any rate.


Anonymous said...

I believe that Pearl Buck was the father of Paris Hilton or am I going mad? Aaaaargh!!

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely wrong me dear. Pearl Buck is the daughter of mother-of-pearl.