“Buck has never done better work than this. By a great gift of intuition she has entered into the mind, heart and spirit of the Chinese peasant woman and revealed the permanent values of life.” —The Times Literary Supplement
Dickensian in its epic sweep, one of Buck’s finest novels centers on an unnamed peasant woman in pre-revolutionary China. Without warning, her restless husband abandons her. Shamed by the experience, she is left to work the land, raise their three children on her own, and care for her aging mother-in-law. To save face with her neighbors, she pretends her husband is traveling, and sends letters to herself signed in his name. Surrounded by poverty, despair, and a growing web of lies meant to protect the family, her children grow up and enter society with only the support of their mother’s unbreakable will.
An unforgettable story of one woman’s strength and a remarkable fable about the role of mothers, this novel is a powerful achievement by a master of twentieth-century fiction.