Hilary Spurling: Pearl Buck in China

Biographer Spurling, discussing her just published Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China, talked about Pearl Buck’s visceral identification with Chinese peasants, her literary legacy and her amnesia about unpleasant events in her past.

Hilary Spurling is the award-winning biographer of the painter Henri Matisse and novelists Ivy Compton-Burnett and Paul Scott. The second volume of her Matisse biography, Matisse the Master, won the 2005 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. Her books also include The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell, and Invitation to the Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time.

Her latest book, Burying the Bones: Pearl Buck in China, covers the period when Pearl Buck lived in China through the fall of the empire, famine and revolution.

“Boldly conceived and magnificently written, Burying the Bones should repair Buck’s literary fortunes and restore her to the pantheon of feminist heroines.”

Elaine Showalter in the Literary Review