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These twelve short stories vividly bring to life the daily dramas of Chinese men and women who are starting to feel the influence of the West while still immersed in a society that attempts to control their every move and thought. As his characters wrestle with the petty injustices and deeper heartbreaks of their constricted lives, Ha Jin celebrates their irrepressible humanity with the understated humour and disarmingly simple narrative voice that have won him widespread acclaim.
In his luminous new novel, the author of Waiting deepens his portrait of Chinese society while exploring the perennial conflicts between convention and individualism, integrity and pragmatism, loyalty and betrayal. Professor Yang, a respected teacher of literature at a provincial university, has had a stroke, and his student Jian Wan -who is also engaged to Yang's daughter -has been assigned to care tor him. What initially seems a simple if burdensome duty becomes more problematic when the professor begins to rave: pleading with invisible tormentors, denouncing his family, his colleagues, and a system in which a scholar is 'just a piece of meat on a cutting board. 'Are these just manifestations of illness, or is Yang spewing up the truth? In a China convulsed by the Tiananmen uprising, those who listen to the truth are as much at risk as those who speak it. At once nuanced and fierce, earthy and humane, The Crazed is further evidence of Ha Jin's prodigious narrative gifts.
From the acclaimed, award-winning author of "Waiting" and "War Trash" comes a new novel that eloquently re-imagines the American immigrant saga. Jin tells the story of the Wu family, as it sets out on a journey through contemporary America in search of a sense of belonging.
National Book Award-winner Ha Jin offers a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. He depicts the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily struggles--some minute, some grand--faced by these intriguing individuals.
National Book Award-winner Ha Jin's arresting debut novel, "In the Pond", is a darkly funny portrait of an amateur calligrapher who wields his delicate artist's brush as a weapon against the powerful party bureaucrats who rule his provincial Chinese town. Shao Bin is a downtrodden worker at the Harvest Fertilizer Plant by day and an aspiring artist by night. Passed over on the list to receive a decent apartment for his young family, while those in favor with the party's leaders are selected ahead of him, Shao Bin chafes at his powerlessness. When he attempts to expose his corrupt superiors by circulating satirical cartoons, he provokes an escalating series of merciless counterattacks that send ripples beyond his small community. Artfully crafted and suffused with earthy wit, "In the Pond" is a moving tale about humble lives caught up in larger social forces.
The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing. In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin--an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women's College--decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken. In the aftermath of the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for more than ten thousand homeless women and children, and Vautrin must struggle, day after day, to intercede on behalf of the hapless victims. Even when order and civility are eventually restored, Vautrin remains deeply embattled, and she is haunted by the lives she could not save.With extraordinarily evocative precision, Ha Jin re-creates the terror, the harrowing deprivations, and the menace of unexpected violence that defined life in Nanjing during the occupation. In Minnie Vautrin he has given us an indelible portrait of a woman whose convictions and bravery prove, in the end, to be no match for the maelstrom of history. At once epic and intimate, Nanjing Requiem is historical fiction at its most resonant.From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award The place is the chilly border between Russia and China. The time is the early 1970s when the two giants were poised on the brink of war. And the characters in this thrilling collection of stories are Chinese soldiers who must constantly scrutinize the enemy even as they themselves are watched for signs of the fatal disease of bourgeois liberalism. In Ocean of Words, the Chinese writer Ha Jin explores the predicament of these simple, barely literate men with breathtaking concision and humanity. From amorous telegraphers to a pugnacious militiaman, from an inscrutable Russian prisoner to an effeminate but enthusiastic recruit, Ha Jin's characters possess a depth and liveliness that suggest Isaac Babel's Cossacks and Tim O'Brien's GIs. Ocean of Words is a triumphant volume, poignant, hilarious, and harrowing. "A compelling collection of stories, powerful in their unity of theme and rich in their diversity of styles."--New York Times Book Review "Extraordinary...[These stories are shot through with wit and offer glimpses of human motivation that defy retelling...Read them all."--Boston Globe "An exceptional new talent, capable of wringing rich surprises out of austere materials."--Portland Oregonian
Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction, "Under The Red Flag" features twelve stories which take place during China's Cultural Revolution -- stories which display the earnestness and grandeur of human folly and, in a larger sense, form a moral history of a time and a place.
This is the story of Lin Kong, a man living in two worlds, struggling with the conflicting claims of two utterly different women as he moves through the political minefields of society designed to regulate his every move and stifle the promptings of his innermost heart. For more than seventeen years, this devoted and ambitious doctor has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in the traditional world of his home village lives the wife his family chose for him when he was young - a humble and touchingly loyal woman, whom he visits in order to ask, again and again, for a divorce. In a culture in which the ancient ties of tradition and family still hold sway and where adultery discovered by the Party can ruin lives forever, Lin's passionate love is stretched ever more taut by the passing years. Every summer, his compliant wife agrees to a divorce but then backs out. This time, Lin promises, will be different. Tracing these lives through their summer of decision and beyond, Ha Jin vividly conjures the texture of daily life in a place where the demand of human longing must contend with the weight of centuries of custom. Waiting charms and startles us with its depiction of a China that remains hidden to Western eyes even as it moves us with its piercing vision of the universal complications of love.
Ha Jin's masterful new novel casts a searchlight into a forgotten corner of modern history, the experience of Chinese soldiers held in U.S. POW camps during the Korean War. In 1951 Yu Yuan, a scholarly and self-effacing clerical officer in Mao's "volunteer" army, is taken prisoner south of the 38th Parallel. Because he speaks English, he soon becomes an intermediary between his compatriots and their American captors.With Yuan as guide, we are ushered into the secret world behind the barbed wire, a world where kindness alternates with blinding cruelty and one has infinitely more to fear from one's fellow prisoners than from the guards. Vivid in its historical detail, profound in its imaginative empathy, War Trash is Ha Jin's most ambitious book to date.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Yu Yuan, a pro communist fighting against the Americans in the Korean War, when captured by the Americans as prisoner of war, dreams of escaping and joining his fiancée and family. Another soldier Pie Shan tries to use Yu for his own escape.
Ha Jin's journey from an uneducated soldier in the People's Liberation Army in China to a resident of the United States raises questions about language, migration, and the place of literature in a globalizing world.
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