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Peony: A Novel of China

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

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(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Interesting

If you enjoy reading Lisa See and Amy Tan novels, then consider reading this one. Worth reading at least once. I found it entertaining and the story's centering around the Jews living in China was refreshing.

posted by LaughingMagpie on October 25, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Readable but not great

Buck writes simply and clearly.

As a historical novel Peony is weak because it isnt set in just one period. The background events actually cover more than the lifetime of one person. Also, Buck's knowledge of Judaism is weak so she has the Jewish characters talking a...
Buck writes simply and clearly.

As a historical novel Peony is weak because it isnt set in just one period. The background events actually cover more than the lifetime of one person. Also, Buck's knowledge of Judaism is weak so she has the Jewish characters talking about Jehovah (Jews traditionally do not name their God, but speak of him as The Lord, or G-d. However if they were to use a name it would not be Jehovah.) and comfortable with consuming food made from blood though they avoid pork. It is unlikely that the prohibition against consuming blood would fade sooner than the prohibition against pork. However, if you aren't looking for historical or cultural accuracy/plausibility, it is a good read.

Bucks novels are still exotic, and the characters are vivid even when stereotypes.

posted by Cassemma on July 18, 2014

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    Interesting

    If you enjoy reading Lisa See and Amy Tan novels, then consider reading this one. Worth reading at least once. I found it entertaining and the story's centering around the Jews living in China was refreshing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2014

    surprisingly thought provoking

    If someone had described this book to me for what it really is, I probably would have never picked it up. I was sucked in by the back cover, promising me a romance between the son of a well respected family and a bond servant. Peony was so much more than that.

    It is true that part of the story is about Peony, the little bond servant, and her young master, David. But another part of the story is about China. And another part about the persecution and destruction of Jews throughout the world. It is about tradition and fitting in. It is about the value of personal beliefs and culture. It is a story about the importance of generations, both past, present, and future.

    Written in 1948, this novel would not be a page turner, and yet it kept my interest and had me thinking about it throughout my day. It doesn't have all the trappings of modern literature. There is no catchy opening line. Nothing sensational happens in the first page or even the first chapter. Instead it is the story of a family caught between the country they live in and the the belief system that is strange and misunderstood by their neighbors.

    The writing is style is subtle, but still evokes deep interest in the characters and the trials they face. There are surprising moments and moments so full of true and lasting love that they will bring a tear to your eye.

    This is the kind of book you pick up for a book club, because there is so much about life portrayed in the novel that it could lead to hours of discussion.

    Well done. 4.5

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    Usually I go directly to mystery but thought I would take a break. So glad I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2014

    Great story with great insight

    This book told a story that was had great depth and insight into the characters of both the Jews and the Chinese. Enjoyed this book very much.

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