Flashback Friday: East Wind: West Wind by Pearl S. Buck

It’s time, once again, for Flashback Friday…

Flashback Friday is a chance to dig deep in the darkest nooks of our bookshelves and pull out the good stuff from way back. As a reader, a blogger, and a consumer, I tend to focus on new, new, new… but what about the old favorites, the hidden gems? On Flashback Fridays, I want to hit the pause button for a moment and concentrate on older books that are deserving of attention.

If you’d like to join in, here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

East Wind: West Wind by Pearl S. Buck

(published 1929)

Pearl S. Buck, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is perhaps best known for her masterpiece The Good Earth. But how many people have read her first novel, East Wind: West Wind?

From Amazon:

East Wind: West Wind is told from the eyes of a traditional Chinese girl, Kwei-lan, married to a Chinese medical doctor, educated abroad. The story follows Kwei-lan as she begins to accept different points of view from the western world, and re-discovers her sense of self through this coming-of-age narrative.

In East Wind: West Wind, the main character is an obedient and devoted daughter of a traditional Chinese family, raised to be a good wife according to the dictates of her society. She is taught to obey her husband, follow his opinion in all matters, and to serve him as he sees fit. However, her husband has been influenced by his exposure to more modern ways of life and wants a wife who is a partner and who can think for herself.

It is fascinating to see the culture clash that results from this marriage of tradition and modernity. Ultimately, a woman raised to obey her husband finds herself in a position where the only way she can obey him is by disobeying, in order to meet his desire for a wife who is more than a servant to him.

My copy of East Wind: West Wind disappeared years ago, and I’ve always wanted to pick up a new copy and revisit this wonderful novel. If you’ve enjoyed other works by Pearl S. Buck or more contemporary novels set in China (such as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See), I highly recommend reading East Wind: West Wind.

And if you’re the person who borrowed my copy about ten years ago… I want it back!

So, what’s your favorite blast from the past? Leave a tip for your fellow booklovers, and share the wealth. It’s time to dust off our old favorites and get them back into circulation! 

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday bloghop, post about a book you love on your blog, and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Jump in!