LETTER FROM PEKING by Pearl S. Buck

LETTER FROM PEKING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A minor production in the distinguished list of Mrs. Buck's writings, but one that has certain qualities of charm, and importance in the successful probing of the interrace conflict. She tells the story, largely by indirection, of an American wife of a teacher, whose mother was Chinese, his father American --but almost more Chinese than the Chinese in his scholarly interests and identification. Gerald, the husband, finds he cannot leave the Peking he loves, the people who are so much his own, even under the Communist rule. He sends his wife and young son back to Vermont- and safety. And for a time he manages to communicate with them. Then comes a final letter, asking permission to take a Chinese woman into their home. Eve, the wife, thrusts the decision aside, seals up the letter, ceases to write to Gerald- and lives in her faith of eventual reunion. She and the boy Rennie seek out the old Grandfather MacLeod and bring him to Vermont- but his is a tenuous hold on life and reality, and eventually he dies. The monthly round of mountain farm activities is told. And then Rennie falls in love- and is rejected because of his Chinese blood. Bitter, resentful, he leaves home- goes out to Kansas, where they had found the grandfather -- and finally resolves his problem, finds the right girl, and comes home to Eve. With her acceptance of Gerald's need for a woman- and ultimately with his violent death, in an attempt to escape, Eve is able to close the door on the past and to face the future. An elusive sort of book.

Pub Date: July 8th, 1957
Publisher: John Day