The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
Alright, so first of all, it's really, really long. cf. Proust
Second of all, there's the language. Here's a quote.
Now it was a curious thing that she who had been so composed always and had lived content so far as Wang the Tiger knew or cared, now when she saw this new courtesy in the man seemed moved in some strange way.
This is a typical sentence. Do you see the weirdness? The weirdnesses? Is it not now a curious means that this language employs to move us as it does to some such place as it wishes to move us?
So first of all, it's really long.
Second of all, it's really, really poetic cf. Rohinton Mistry.
I mean so poetic I'm impressed because when I think of this author with such obvious command of one language writing for so long under the influence of another language and keeping this influence consistent and composed, I'm rather overwhelmed with how much concentration it must have taken.
So: do we read books because we want to be overwhelmed with the concentration they must have taken?
These are three stories of three men, a grandfather, a father and a son. Within the three stories are multiple smaller stories, many of other people.
I read this book because I liked the big stories and many of the little stories. And I liked feeling overwhelmed by the effortless command of the influence of one language over another language that when I stopped to think about it, must have taken an immense effort, but which when reading the stories, was effortless.