CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Readers and historians in Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl S. Buck's native state are excited at word of a new book 40 years after her death.
"The Eternal Wonder" is scheduled for paperback and digital release on Oct. 22 by Open Road Integrated Media.
The manuscript, believed to have been written shortly before she died of cancer in 1973, was found in a Texas storage unit in January and brought to Open Road, according to a news release on the publisher's website.
"We are thrilled to discover and publish a novel by one of only two American women to ever win both the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes," Jane Friedman of Open Road, Michael Carlisle of InkWell literary management agency, and Buck's son, Edgar S. Walsh, said in a joint statement.
"'The Eternal Wonder' is as brilliant and inspiring as Pearl Buck's most famous works, and we look forward to readers across the world getting to enjoy this long lost masterpiece this fall along with Buck's other wonderful books."
Sue Groves, executive director of Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in Hillsboro, heard about the book a few days ago when a friend sent her a link to a New York Times story.
"The idea of the book coming out is very exciting," Groves said. "I feel that she's one of our most underappreciated writers. I'm hoping that this will restore some of the recognition that she deserved."
Buck was born in Hillsboro in Pocahontas County in 1892 to Presbyterian missionaries. She lived mostly in China for the first 40 years of her life and learned to speak Chinese in early childhood.
Her best-known novel, "The Good Earth," was published in 1931 and won a Pulitzer Prize the next year. It is the beginning of a trilogy and follows the life of a farmer and his wife in pre-Revolutionary China.
Buck wrote more than 100 works of fiction and non-fiction, according to the West Virginia Encyclopedia. She moved back to the United States in the mid-1930s.
She was the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1938. The prize is awarded for a body of work.
Groves was curious as to how the unknown manuscript wound up in Texas.
Buck sold nearly 300 manuscripts, including multiple versions of some books, magazine articles and speeches, to the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in October 1970 for $1.
The manuscripts are now housed at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.