The story begins with Wang Lung's wedding day. He is a poor farmer and his father has arranged for him to marry a slave - one who is neither small nor comely, but she is selfless and faithful.
The story takes place in pre-revolutionary China, and Pearl Buck gives the reader a portrait of customs, practices, and prejudices of the time.
The main character, Wang Lung is for the most part a decent person, but he is at times a puppet to the practices of his time period. The story begins with his marriage and ends with him as an old man whose sons don't value the same things he does. This sets up the next book if you desire to go forward with the series. I may or may not read the next two books.
This book would be an excellent choice for a book club as there are so many choices and customs that would make for great discussion points: foot binding, the value of men children, girls viewed as slaves, opium, the responsibility of taking care of extended family members, polygamy, fidelity, hard work, entitlement, death customs, birth customs, how women found power, and many more.
This book will make you think about what you have and what you value.