The Eternal Wonder

( 12 )

Overview

Lost for forty years, a new novel by the author of The Good Earth

The Eternal Wonder
tells the coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax (Rann for short), an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever?and, ultimately, to love.

Rann falls for the beautiful and equally brilliant...

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Overview

Lost for forty years, a new novel by the author of The Good Earth

The Eternal Wonder
tells the coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax (Rann for short), an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever—and, ultimately, to love.

Rann falls for the beautiful and equally brilliant Stephanie Kung, who lives in Paris with her Chinese father and has no contact with her American mother, who abandoned the family when Stephanie was six years old. Both Rann and Stephanie yearn for a sense of genuine identity. Rann feels plagued by his voracious intellectual curiosity and strives to integrate his life of the mind with his experience in the world. Stephanie feels alienated from society by her mixed heritage and struggles to resolve the culture clash of her existence. Separated for long periods of time, their final reunion leads to a conclusion that even Rann, in all his hard-earned wisdom, could never have imagined.

A moving and mesmerizing fictional exploration of the themes that meant so much to Pearl Buck in her life, The Eternal Wonder is perhaps her most personal and passionate work, and will no doubt appeal to the millions of readers who have treasured her novels for generations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/18/2013
In this recently discovered manuscript published four decades after the author's death, Nobel-Prize winner Buck (The Good Earth) heaps such good fortune on her hero, famous novelist Randolph "Rann" Colfax, that conflict seems to be an afterthought. The only son of a college professor and his wife, Rann's exceptional intelligence is clear from the start. Buck lingers a bit too long in his precocious development, from the "private sea" of his mother's womb to the process of learning to read. After Rann passes college entrance exams at age 12, his father, George, enjoins him "to see the world" beyond Ohio, and dies of cancer shortly thereafter. The novel often avoids true complexity in favor of lofty perseveration on the subjects of science and art; however, certain moments of tension are evoked brilliantly. When Rann's professor, Donald Sharpe, makes a sexual overture, Rann's mother's response is one of unexpected compassion: "‘He's in need of love where he can never find it.'" Rann travels to Brooklyn, where his grandfather invites him to move in; to England, where a widowed Lady hosts him in her castle; and to France, where he meets Chinese-American Stephanie Kung, whose father asks Rann to be his son-in-law. In spite of the seemingly global admiration, Rann does not always get what he wants. Buck's use of language is masterful, but the ending is somewhat abrupt compared to the rest of the novel—perhaps evident of its unpublished or unfinished nature. Moreover, the ease with which Buck's young protagonist goes through much of life overshadows the author's lustrous writing. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
REVIEW QUOTES: PRAISE FOR THE GOOD EARTH
 
“[Buck] did for the working people of twentieth-century China something of what Dickens had done for London’s nineteenth-century poor.” —Hilary Spurling, author of Pearl Buck in China
 
“One need never have lived in China or know anything about the Chinese to understand [The Good Earth] or respond to its appeal.” —Boston Evening Transcript
 
“One of the most important and revealing novels of our time.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 “A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe.” —The New York Times 
From The Critics
2013-10-01
A newly unearthed novel by the Nobel Prize–winning author of The Good Earth, following the rocketlike rise of a literary prodigy. In the final years of her life, Buck (1892-1973) worked on this novel, which was discovered in late 2012 in a storage unit in Fort Worth, Texas. Buck earned her fame by illuminating China for Americans who understood little about the country, but she squandered her reputation with overproductivity, writing more than 40 novels and nearly 30 nonfiction books. This book will do little to elevate her literary esteem. It tracks its hero, Randolph "Rann" Colfax, literally from the womb and into his early 20s, and the story is framed with wooden set pieces and melodramatic dialogue. The son of a college professor, Rann quickly emerges as a boy genius, and various people soon materialize to support or take advantage of this bright boy. A male teacher attempts to seduce him (prompting an odd lecture from Rann's mother, who's less concerned with pedophilia than homosexuality). A wealthy English woman helps him find his sexual self, and the daughter of a Chinese art dealer introduces him to the charms of Paris. In the military, Rann monitors the Korean DMZ, and he witnesses enough corruption during his stint to produce a novel that quickly becomes a sensation. The hackneyed plot diminishes moments that reveal Buck's genuine sensitivity to the Asian diaspora; one of the best-drawn characters is the Chinese manservant of Rann's grandfather in Brooklyn. Written late in her life, this book is worth attention as a summing up of Buck's experiences and interests: the links between art and scientific rigor, the fate of Asia in the American century and the perils of literary celebrity. As entertainment, though, it's dated and thin. Buck scholars only need apply.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
A newly unearthed novel by the Nobel Prize–winning author of The Good Earth, following the rocketlike rise of a literary prodigy. In the final years of her life, Buck (1892-1973) worked on this novel, which was discovered in late 2012 in a storage unit in Fort Worth, Texas. Buck earned her fame by illuminating China for Americans who understood little about the country, but she squandered her reputation with overproductivity, writing more than 40 novels and nearly 30 nonfiction books. This book will do little to elevate her literary esteem. It tracks its hero, Randolph "Rann" Colfax, literally from the womb and into his early 20s, and the story is framed with wooden set pieces and melodramatic dialogue. The son of a college professor, Rann quickly emerges as a boy genius, and various people soon materialize to support or take advantage of this bright boy. A male teacher attempts to seduce him (prompting an odd lecture from Rann's mother, who's less concerned with pedophilia than homosexuality). A wealthy English woman helps him find his sexual self, and the daughter of a Chinese art dealer introduces him to the charms of Paris. In the military, Rann monitors the Korean DMZ, and he witnesses enough corruption during his stint to produce a novel that quickly becomes a sensation. The hackneyed plot diminishes moments that reveal Buck's genuine sensitivity to the Asian diaspora; one of the best-drawn characters is the Chinese manservant of Rann's grandfather in Brooklyn. Written late in her life, this book is worth attention as a summing up of Buck's experiences and interests: the links between art and scientific rigor, the fate of Asia in the American century and the perils of literary celebrity. As entertainment, though, it's dated and thin. Buck scholars only need apply.
Library Journal
01/01/2014
In 2012, this posthumous work by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buck was found in a storage unit in Texas and brought to the attention of Edgar Walsh Buck, her son and literary executor. On the surface, this simple tale depicts the life of an extraordinary young man, Rann (Randolph) Colfax, and his journey from birth to adulthood. Astonishing his parents by being able to count by age two and read by three, Rann proves himself to be intellectually beyond his years when he begins college at age 12. However, his life begins to change following a dose of unwelcome reality when he is approached sexually by the one male professor for whom he had much scholarly admiration. Later, Rann's transition to adulthood comes to full fruition when he meets Lady Mary, an older Englishwoman, while traveling abroad. Finally, he becomes enamored of Stephanie, a half-Chinese and half-American girl living in Paris with her Chinese father. VERDICT Written with sensitivity and subtleness, this work makes it easy to see why Buck garnered literary accolades. Her experience in China is evident, as are the strong themes of personal and cultural identity. Forty years after Buck's passing, this is still a thoughtful work to be shared with a new generation of readers.—Shirley Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480439702
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 104,791
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973) was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United States. Throughout her life she worked in support of civil and women’s rights, and established Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency. In addition to her highly acclaimed novels, Buck wrote two memoirs and biographies of both of her parents. For her body of work, Buck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, the first American woman to have done so. She died in Vermont. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. It started a little slowly, but

    I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. It started a little slowly, but once I was into Rann's boyhood, it began to gel for me. It turned out to be a quick and interesting read. Learned a lot about Chinese culture and would recommend this book highly.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Beautiful!

    I loved the character in this story although the beginning of his life as a child, moved too slowly for me. When he went to college and traveled it was fantastic knowing all his thoughts. I highly recommend this to those who love Pearl Buck or would like to begin reading her works

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2014

    Wow...my first introduction to the author and now I feel compell

    Wow...my first introduction to the author and now I feel compelled to read everything she wrote.  Had her life not ended when it did, I can imagine this work as a much longer story, covering more of Rann's life.  Very prescient in details on war and society.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2014

    Masterpiece

    Moving, thought-provoking, gripping, humorous. It's no surprise Ms. Buck won the Nobel prize as a young woman. This novel is rich and satisfying. I will be thinking about it for a long time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    please do not judge the author by this "lost" manuscript

    She would have been best served by not trying to get this in shape read her chinese novels

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2014

    For those who want to read beyond e books

    It is difficult to locate her books now used or in libraries her books both about china are the best when she gets to usa they are not quite as original because she wrote first in chinese and then in english so you have an english story that was first conceived in chinese and then translated into english

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

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    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Sea

    K

    0 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 25, 2014

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    Posted December 29, 2013

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    Posted August 21, 2014

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