May 30, 2013

Pearl S. Buck’s long-lost final novel


Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck , the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is best known for her novel The Good Earth, which also earned her a Pulitzer Prize. Buck was a prolific author who started her career in 1930 and kept writing until her final days in 1973, and in fact wrote for longer than almost anybody realized. Julie Bosman writes for the New York Times that Buck’s final, unpublished novel has been discovered and will be available this fall.

The newly unearthed book, The Eternal Wonder, was a surprise even to Buck’s son Edgar S. Walsh, who manages her literary estate. He tells Bosman that his family doesn’t know exactly how the manuscript, which Buck finished shortly before dying, made it halfway across the country: “After my mother died in Vermont, her personal possessions were not carefully controlled. The family didn’t have access. Various things were stolen. Somebody in Vermont ran off with this thing, and it eventually ended up in Texas.”

Jane Friedman, chief executive officer of the publisher Open Road Integrated Media, tells the Times that there are two copies of the manuscript—a typed one and a photocopy of one in Buck’s handwriting—and describes the lost book as a Buck classic. She tells Bosman, “All of the themes that were important to Pearl Buck are in this book. The main character, the love, the attention to detail of the Chinese artifacts, the relationship this young man has. She writes in a way that is absolutely hypnotic.”

The Eternal Wonder is a coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax, a gifted young man who travels to New York, London, Paris, and on a mission to the DMZ in Korea that ultimately leads him to love. It will be available from Open Road as a paperback and ebook on October 22 of this year.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.