Monday, December 9, 2013

The Eternal Wonder (Pearl S. Buck)

The story behind Pearl S. Buck’s The Eternal Wonder is almost as interesting as the book itself.  Of course, Buck is most known for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Good Earth, and you normally would not expect a new piece to be published decades after the author’s death.  The manuscript for The Eternal Wonder was found in a storage unit in Texas; how it got there is a mystery, but it was returned to the Buck family for a small fee.  Buck’s son, Edgar Walsh, decided to go ahead with publishing what will, unless a new piece is found, most certainly be her last book.

Randolph Colfax (Rann for short) is a hugely gifted young man who loves to “know.”  His parents tried him out in normal school, but he was deemed far too extraordinary to fit in with his classmates.  He is constantly searching for meaning in his life, and this search takes him to New York, Paris, and Korea.  Surprisingly racy in much of its content, The Eternal Wonder takes the reader on quite the journey right along with Rann.

Buck’s hypnotizing writing is a reason why she is one of the greats, and The Eternal Wonder is certainly no exception. However, this is no The Good Earth, and Walsh in his foreward says that he realizes this. The plot is all over the place at times, and the ending is just odd (although the beginning is absolutely beautiful).  For rabid Buck fans, though, none of this will matter.