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4.8 out of 5 stars20
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2006
One of the most utterly wonderful books I have ever read. By coincidence I read this book in my 40th year and found such understanding with the character and her craving for peace and solitude.

I also love all the detail and the way the scene is so beautifully set. It imerses you in the culture of the time and place.
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on 11 July 1999
I stumbled across this book in an old store and couldnt get home fast enough to read it. I found it fascinating to gain insight from my armchair, culture and traditions from China. I loved the characters and the style it was written. There was more than just a change in a life here (Madam Wu) there was the lifelong friendship of her best friend, the challenges of their children, the political times they faced, forbidden love and the complexities of arrogance.. My only regret is that this book is no longer in print.
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on 24 May 2011
I began to read this book one month before my 50th birthday and 33 years into a longterm relationship, and as soon as I finished it I read it again. This is more than just a book - it's a gift. A wonderful, beautiful gift of wisdom to all women who want it and need it. I will treasure this book always.
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on 7 May 2012
I would consider this book a "quiet" book - it won't have your pulse racing nor have you turning the pages in a frenzy but it is a very interesting, thoroughly engrossing book. The narrative is gentle and easy to read and you quickly become immersed in the life of Madame Wu. It's also a wonderful insight into the culture and attitudes of China at the time. Madam Wu's initial action appears odd to us now but to see the consequences of it unfold and how her thinking changes is fascinating - would thoroughly recommend this book, a lovely, leisurely read.
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on 7 November 1997
When I first read "Pavilion of Women" I was unsure whether I like it or not...in fact I was a little disappoionted. But over the months I found my thoughts constantly flitting back to it-- to some bit of dialog, some passage in this book. A year later, drawn by something I could not describe, I re-read this book. It is not a book for girls, or even young women. It is a book for women. Women who have been married a long time. They alone, I think, would understand, sympathize and identify with the actions of the main character, Madame Wu, who, on her 40th b'day, arranges for her husband to take a "little wife",and the consquences of this action on the family. I know the premise sounds simple but this book explores the very deep waters of the human heart. To be honest, even after a second reading I am not sure I actually like Madame Wu, and , I must admit, it is not Mrs. Buck's greatest works but , as said before, there is something haunting about this book...
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on 20 January 1998
This novel begins in the world of the classic Chinese novel--it could be The Dream of the Red Chamber or a Judge Dee tale. All is beautiful, precise, elegant, traditional ... But soon Madame Wu realizes that the traditional ways are not working anymore. She tries to use tradition to satisfy Western, feminist cravings to find deeper meaning for her life. Understanding and then loving a Western man, Madame Wu suddenly sees her life and family in an entirely new way. The novel is poetic, philosophical, and yet personal. As Madame Wu and the world politics of the 40s change forever the Wu family, the mind of the reader is changed as well.
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on 30 August 2002
I have owned a copy of this book since I was sixteen, my mother
passed it to me, I think in order that I should learn something
about what it means to be an adult woman. Pearl Bucks writing
feels as if it has been translated from the original Chinese and
conveys both the delicacy and brutality of life in China at the
time she was writing. Her insight into the inner world of Chinese society has the sharpness of Jane Austen combined with passion and a yearning for what cannot be. All women approaching
their middle years should read this book for inspiration.
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on 8 February 2015
The story of a wife, who reaches the age of 40 and convinces herself that what her husband needs is a new wife. Pearl Buck spent her childhood in China, and so understood the country and its people very well. She writes in a concise way, which makes for easy reading. Her stories flow in a straight line, no moving back and forth in time as some people do. This is yet another excellent example of her work.
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on 19 September 2014
Several reviewers have mentioned the old fashion writing/style of this story. I think that's the whole point - it's an old fashion story about an old fashion family approaching 'modern' times. However, I thought that it was every bit as brilliant as The Good Earth (which I have read several times) and I shall certainly be reading more of Mrs Buck's novels.
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on 2 August 2013
I have read all Pearl S Buck and very much enjoy them all but I am especially fond of Madam Wu I first found her in my teens when I worked in a library and was delighted to find her again thanks to Amazon and Kindle Beautifully written, clear clean style and characters so real they are alive = what more does anyone need to know.. Read them
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