This is a thrilling portrait of the extraordinary childhood of Pearl Buck, the now-forgotten bestselling Nobel Prize winning novelist. Pearl Buck was raised in China by her American parents, Presbyterian missionaries from Virginia. Blonde and blue-eyed she looked startlingly foreign, but felt as at home as her Chinese companions. She ran free on the grave-littered grasslands behind her house, often stumbling across the tiny bones of baby girls who had been suffocated at birth. Buck's father was a terrifying figure, with a maniacal zeal for religious conversion - a passion rarely shared by the local communities he targeted. He drained the family's budget for his Chinese translation of the New Testament, while his aggrieved, long-suffering wife did her utmost to create a homely environment for her children, several of whom died tragically young. Pearl Buck would eventually rise to eminence in America as a bestselling author, but in this startlingly original biography, Spurling recounts with elegance and great insight her unspeakable upbringing in a China that was virtually unknown to the West.