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Pearl S. Buck to publish new novel ... 40 years after her death

Nanjing (China)ChinaJustice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeNobel Prize AwardsPulitzer Prize Awards

A new novel by Pearl S. Buck will be published in October, more than 40 years after her death. Buck, best known for her novel "The Good Earth," won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938.

"The Eternal Wonder" was discovered in storage and will be published as an e-book original by Open Road Media. Buck finished the novel not long before she died in 1973.

The novel is, the publisher writes, a coming-of-age story of "an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, on a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea." He crosses paths with a young woman who has grown up in Paris, daughter of a Chinese father and an absent American mother.

Buck often wrote of issues of intersecting cultures and identities. She was born in West Virginia in 1892 but grew up in China, where she and her missionary parents moved soon after her birth. "The Good Earth," which won the Pulitzer Prize and became an international bestseller, portrayed a farmer's journey across China in the 1920s.

Buck had been driven to begin writing after surviving the 1927 Nanking incident, in which the Chinese revolutionary army's descent on Nanking led to violent attacks against foreigners there. Continuing unrest and conflict compelled her to leave China in 1935.

In her Nobel acceptance speech, Buck spoke of the traditions of literature in China, where novels were not considered high art -- something she embraced. She said, "for the novelist the only element is human life as he finds it in himself or outside himself. The sole test of his work is whether or not his energy is producing more of that life. Are his creatures alive? That is the only question. And who can tell him? Who but those living human beings, the people? Those people are not absorbed in what art is or how it is made-are not, indeed, absorbed in anything very lofty, however good it is. No, they are absorbed only in themselves, in their own hungers and despairs and joys and above all, perhaps, in their own dreams. These are the ones who can really judge the work of the novelist, for they judge by that single test of reality. And the standard of the test is not to be made by the device of art, but by the simple comparison of the reality of what they read, to their own reality."

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