Dec 5, 2009

Book Review, Waiting: A Novel by Ha Jin


In modern China, two people wait over seventeen years for each other to have a change of heart that would profoundly affect their lives.

From publisher's description of Waiting: A Novel by Ha Jin:
"For more than seventeen years, this devoted and ambitious doctor has been in love with an educated... 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....


... Ha Jin vividly conjures the texture of daily life in a place where the demands of human longing must contend with the weight of centuries of custom. "

My comments: Lin's anguish in wanting a divorce so he can marry the woman of his choice is balanced by the long-suffering patience of the wife he left behind, Shuyu. A very worthwhile novel about a clash of the new and the old in a new China that changed only in some aspects.

The book was first printed in 1999 by writer Ha Jin and was a National Book Award finalist. Ha Jin decided after the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 to remain in the U.S. I pulled this book from my personal library to review for Jen's China Challenge over at Biblio File.

An award winning writer, Ha Jin is now a professor of English at Boston University. His other well known book is A Free Life.


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7 comments:

  1. This one sounds pretty interesting. I read about in my Bookmarks Magazine a while back.

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  2. I have seen a number of Ha Jin's works in my local book stores-

    very interesting post-

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  3. Oh I really WANT to read this book! It's in my China Challenge list too :) Did you guys know it's going to be made into a movie? And it'll be starring Zhang Zi Yi ;)

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  4. Staci, Mel: I might try to re-read A Free Life and review it for the challenge. I enjoyed it the first time I read it and think it's a very worthwhile account of one immigrant's life in the U.S. where things are not as easy as it first seemed.

    Mark David: Cool! I will definitely see this movie. Wonder which woman Zhang Zi Yi will play?

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  5. Sounds like an interesting book to me. I have never read a vook based in China.

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  6. This book sounds so interesting! I just love Japanese literature and am so happy to find some wonderful authors here! Thank you so much for sharing another great book! Will have to also put A Free Life on my TBR list as well! :D

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  7. Suzanne:The Japanese Lit Challenge ends the end of January but the China Challenge goes through the end of 2010, so there's time to join if you wish.

    Veens: I recommend both books!

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