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A good fall /
Ha Jin.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Pantheon Books, 2009.
description
240 p.
ISBN
9780307378682
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Pantheon Books, 2009.
isbn
9780307378682
catalogue key
6964023
A Look Inside
First Chapter
The Bane of the Internet

My sister Yuchin and I used to write each other letters. It took more than ten days for the mail to reach Sichuan, and usually I wrote her once a month. After Yuchin married, she was often in trouble, but I no longer thought about her every day. Five years ago her marriage began falling apart. Her husband started an affair with his female boss and sometimes came home reeling drunk. One night he beat and kicked Yuchin so hard she miscarried. At my suggestion, she filed for divorce. Afterward she lived alone and seemed content. I urged her to find another man, because she was only twenty-six, but she said she was done with men for this life. Capable and with a degree in graphic design, she has been doing well and even bought her own apartment four years ago. I sent her two thousand dollars to help her with the down payment.

Last fall she began e-mailing me. At first it was exciting to chat with her every night. We stopped writing letters. I even stopped writing to my parents, because she lives near them and can report to them. Recently she said she wanted to buy a car. I had misgivings about that, though she had already paid off her mortgage. Our hometown is small. You can cross by bicycle in half an hour; a car was not a necessity for her. It’s too expensive to keep an automobile there—the gas, the insurance, the registration, the maintenance, the toll fees cost a fortune. I told her I didn’t have a car even though I had to commute to work from Brooklyn to Flushing. But she got it into her head that she must have a car because most of her friends had cars. She wrote: “I want to let that man see how well I’m doing.” She was referring to her ex-husband. I urged her to wipe him out of her mind as if he had never existed. Indifference is the strongest contempt. For a few weeks she didn’t raise the topic again.

Then she told me that she had just passed the road test, bribing the officer with five hundred yuan in addition to the three thousand paid as the application and test fees. She e-mailed: “Sister, I must have a car. Yesterday Minmin, our little niece, came to town driving a brand-new Volkswagen. At the sight of that gorgeous machine, I felt as if a dozen awls were stabbing my heart. Everybody is doing better than me, and I don’t want to live anymore!”

I realized she didn’t simply want to impress her ex. She too had caught the national auto mania. I told her that was ridiculous, nuts. I knew she had some savings. She got a big bonus at the end of each year and freelanced at night. How had she become so vain and so unreasonable? I urged her to be rational. That was impossible, she claimed, because “everybody” drove a car in our hometown. I said she was not everybody and mustn’t follow the trend. She wouldn’t listen and asked me to remit her money as a loan. She already had a tidy sum in the bank, about eighty thousand yuan, she confessed.

Then why couldn’t she just go ahead and buy a car if that was what she wanted? She replied: “You don’t get it, sister. I cannot drive a Chinese model. If I did, people would think I am cheap and laugh at me. Japanese and German cars are too expensive for me, so I might get a Hyundai Elantra or a Ford Focus. Please lend me $10,000. I’m begging you to help me out!”

That was insane. Foreign cars are double priced in China. A Ford Taurus sells for 250,000 yuan in my home province of Sichuan, more than $30,000. I told Yuchin an automobile was just a vehicle, no need to be fancy. She must drop her vanity. Certainly I wouldn’t lend her the money, because that might amount to hitting a dog with a meatball—nothing would come back. So I said no. As it is, I’m still renting and have to save for the down payment on a small apartment somewhere in Queens. My family always assumes that I can pick up cash right and left here. No matter how hard I explain, they can’t see how awful my job at a sushi house is. I waitress ten hours a day, seven days a week. My legs are swollen when I punch out at ten p.m. I might never be able to buy an apartment at all. I’m eager to leave my job and start something of my own—a snack bar or a nail salon or a video store. I must save every penny.

For two weeks Yuchin and I argued. How I hated the e-mail exchanges! Every morning I flicked on the computer and saw a new message from her, sometimes three or four. I often thought of ignoring them, but if I did, I’d fidget at work, as if I had eaten something that had upset my stomach. If only I had pretended I’d never gotten her e-mail at the outset so that we could have continued writing letters. I used to believe that in the United States you could always reshape your relationships with the people back home—you could restart your life on your own terms. But the Internet has spoiled everything—my family is able to get hold of me whenever they like. They might as well live nearby.

Four days ago Yuchin sent me this message: “Elder sister, since you refused to help me, I decided to act on my own. At any rate, I must have a car. Please don’t be mad at me. Here is a website you should take a look at . . .”

I was late for work, so I didn’t visit the site. For the whole day I kept wondering what she was up to, and my left eyelid twitched nonstop. She might have solicited donations. She was impulsive and could get outrageous. When I came back that night and turned on my computer, I was flabbergasted to see that she had put out an ad on a popular site. She announced: “Healthy young woman ready to offer you her organ(s) in order to buy a car. Willing to sell any part as long as I still can drive thereafter. Contact me and let us talk.” She listed her phone number and e-mail address.

I wondered if she was just bluffing. Perhaps she was. On the other hand, she was such a hothead that for a damned car she might not hesitate to sell a kidney, or a cornea, or a piece of her liver. I couldn’t help but call her names while rubbing my forehead.

I had to do something right away. Someone might take advantage of the situation and sign a contract with her. She was my only sibling—if she messed up her life, there would be nobody to care for our old parents. If I had lived near them, I might have called her bluff, but now there was no way out. I wrote her back: “All right, my idiot sister, I will lend you $10,000. Remove your ad from the website. Now!”

In a couple of minutes she returned: “Thank you! Gonna take it off right away. I know you’re the only person I can rely on in the whole world.”

I responded: “I will lend you the money I made by working my ass off. You must pay it back within two years. I have kept a hard copy of our email exchanges, so do not assume you can write off the loan.”

She came back: “Got it. Have a nice dream, sister!” She added a smile sign.

“Get out of my face!” I muttered.

If only I could shut her out of my life for a few weeks. If only I could go somewhere for some peace and quiet.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2009-10-15:
With an enviable literary reputation built on award-winning titles set in China, poet/novelist/short story writer Jin recently debuted his first U.S.-based novel, A Free Life, about the Americanization of a Chinese immigrant family. While the 12 stories in his latest release continue to explore familiar immigrant themes-assimilation, isolation, generation gaps-Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people: a lonely composer befriends his girlfriend's parakeet in "A Composer and His Parakeet," a man suspects his wife of infidelity in "The Beauty," an elderly couple are shunned by their American grandchildren in "Children as Enemies," and a garment worker falls for a prostitute in "The House Behind a Weeping Cherry." VERDICT Beyond his characters' ethnic backgrounds, Jin's writing clearly has mass appeal, most notably exemplified by National Book Award winner Waiting. This new work will be welcomed by any reader and is an excellent companion piece to The Bridegroom, a collection whose characters are the Chinese counterparts of characters featured here.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2009-09-21:
From National Book Award-winner Jin (Waiting) comes a new collection that focuses on Flushing, one of New York City's largest Chinese immigrant communities. With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America. Many different generational perspectives are laid out, from the young male sweatshop-worker narrator of "The House Behind a Weeping Cherry," who lives in the same rooming-house as three prostitutes, to the grandfather of "Children as Enemies," who disapproves of his grandchildren's desires to Americanize their names. Anxiety and distrust plague many of Jin's characters, and while the desire for love and companionship is strong, economic concerns tend to outweigh all others. In "Temporary Love," Jin explores the inevitable complications of becoming a "wartime couple" or "men and women who, unable to bring their spouses to America, cohabit... to comfort each other and also to reduce living expenses." With piercing insight, Jin paints a vast, fascinating portrait of a neighborhood and a people in flux. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." Publisher's Weekly
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." Publisher's Weekly "His best work so far, this collection includes immortal stories of the immigrant experience, comparable to the best of Malamud and Singer." Kansas City Star,Top 100 Books "Everyone in A Good Fall struggles with past and present, and Ha Jin requires dynamic change of them all…these understated clashes of culture reveal careful thematic design and provide an almost 360-degree view of this select human experience: The concerns of people everywhere trying to make a better life come alive, one deceptively simple story at a time." Miami Herald "Jin employs a simple, workmanlike style to match the lives of his characters. But instead of feeling flat-footed, his unvarnished prose adds a no-nonsense charm to the stories." Chicago Sun-Times "In short, the storyteller's art is richly on display here. Ha Jin has a singular talent for snaring a reader. His premises are gripping, his emotional bedrock hard and true…You might even call it: captivating." The Washington Post "His masterful storytelling persists - meticulous, droll, convincing, populated with memorable characters - not to mention the indelible portrait of an immigrant life he gives us. What is also consistent is his prowess to study and reveal, often with heartfelt humor, the compromised and damaged heart and soul, and the impact of time and history on ordinary people." San Francisco Chronicle "12 engrossing, visceral tales about the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants in America…Jin's prose (and particularly his dialogue) is baldly direct, without flourishes but not without nuance." Christian Science Monitor "A collection of sublime moments…Perhaps Jin's point is that despite all the suffering and turmoil involved in living in America, the strong may triumph here after all. It's a message worth hearing these days." Denver Post "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant."-Entertainment Weekly "Ha Jin's ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic…The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin's sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories."Booklist "Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…" Library Journal "InA Good Fall, a lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; a Chinese professor attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student; and young children change their names to more American-sounding ones, unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents. Also included are the rich imagery, attention to detail and wry humor that are Jin's stock in trade and that, when taken together, offer-as fellow writer Francine Prose has noted-'a compelling exploration of the . . . terrain that is the human heart.'" Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star "The author, whose novelWaitingwon the National Book Award in 1999, writes with warmth and humor about what it means to be a bewildered stranger in a strange land, no matter where one is born." People Magazine "This may be Ha Jin's best work yet, his storie
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one''s place in America." Publisher''s Weekly "His best work so far, this collection includes immortal stories of the immigrant experience, comparable to the best of Malamud and Singer." Kansas City Star, Top 100 Books "Everyone in A Good Fall struggles with past and present, and Ha Jin requires dynamic change of them all…these understated clashes of culture reveal careful thematic design and provide an almost 360-degree view of this select human experience: The concerns of people everywhere trying to make a better life come alive, one deceptively simple story at a time." Miami Herald "Jin employs a simple, workmanlike style to match the lives of his characters. But instead of feeling flat-footed, his unvarnished prose adds a no-nonsense charm to the stories." Chicago Sun-Times "[Jin] is a master of the straightforward li≠ he makes the most of his spareness. As in Chekhov''s late work, his writing (which is mostly stripped of adjectives and adverbs) covers a lot of ground quickly-no-frills sentences about Chinese immigrants who lead no-frills lives in New York" The New Republic "In short, the storyteller''s art is richly on display here. Ha Jin has a singular talent for snaring a reader. His premises are gripping, his emotional bedrock hard and true…You might even call it: captivating." The Washington Post "His masterful storytelling persists - meticulous, droll, convincing, populated with memorable characters - not to mention the indelible portrait of an immigrant life he gives us. What is also consistent is his prowess to study and reveal, often with heartfelt humor, the compromised and damaged heart and soul, and the impact of time and history on ordinary people." San Francisco Chronicle "12 engrossing, visceral tales about the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants in America…Jin's prose (and particularly his dialogue) is baldly direct, without flourishes but not without nuance." Christian Science Monitor "A collection of sublime moments…Perhaps Jin''s point is that despite all the suffering and turmoil involved in living in America, the strong may triumph here after all. It''s a message worth hearing these days." Denver Post "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant." -Entertainment Weekly "Ha Jin's ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic…The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin's sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories." Booklist "Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…" Library Journal "In A Good Fall , a lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; a Chinese professor attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student; and young children change their names to more American-sounding ones, unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents. Also included are the rich imagery, attention to detail and wry humor that are Jin's stock in trade and that, when taken together, offer-as fellow writer Francine Prose has noted-'a compelling exploration of the . . . terrain that is the human heart.'" Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star "The author, whose novel Waiting won the National Book Award in 1999, writes with warmth and humor about what it means to be a bewildered stranger in a strange land, no matter where one is born." People Magazine "This may be Ha Jin''s best work yet, his stories often ascending to the mystical penumbra we expect of Singer, Malamud, or O''Connor." The Huffington Post "In this new collection of stories, former Emory University professor Ha Jin reflects on the life of Chinese immigrants in America, crafting each fleeting portrait with a spare precision and attention to detail uncanny for a relative newcomer to the English language." Atlanta Magazine "In his first story collection since 2000, Jin offers 12 visceral tales that read with the immediacy of videotaped interviews. Set in Queens, New York, they illuminate the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants grappling with exploitative employers, demanding relatives, and the rub between American and Chinese attitudes towards family." Barnes and Noble Review, "The Best Short Story Collections of 2009" "Jin tells every character's story with a mixture of compassion and humor, conveying the validity of his or her daily worries, but showing too that, as with all human complications, and no matter our cultural heritage, we are often our own worst enemies."- BookPage "Has all the hallmarks of the works that arguably have made [Ha Jin] Boston's greatest living author." - Boston Magazine "The essence of the short story [is] to tell the tale with as few words as possible but as many words as necessary . . . It is wonderful when done well. [Ha Jin does] very well indeed. . . . He shows how difficult it is for the Chinese to overcome the broad differences in language, lifestyle and beliefs they encounter here. Yet he also shows what keeps them coming and why they stay-economic opportunity and freedom." - The Advocate "Not to be missed. . . . A beautifully written, elegant, subtle, and yet always precise collection. . . . A Good Fall shows the daily struggles of immigrant life, but ultimately the hopefulness that can come with starting over." - Asian Review of Books "Jin continues his skillful and deeply felt exploration of immigrant conflicts. . . . The collection as a whole celebrate[s] immigrant resilience: the courage to embrace calamity, hit the pavement and keep walking toward a brighter future." - The Los Angeles Times "Quiet, careful, restrained prose-prose whose absence of flourish can, at times, make it all the more eloquent." New York Times Book Review "In these stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories, we are reminded once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer." freshfiction.com "Jin is a master of the straightforward li≠ he makes the most of his spareness…Jin's forte is to begin with a cliché of 'the immigrant experience' and then, with a light touch, to upend it, or stretch it to the breaking point, or chuckle over it, or recover the sweetness in it." The New America
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one''s place in America." – Publisher''s Weekly “His best work so far, this collection includes immortal stories of the immigrant experience, comparable to the best of Malamud and Singer.” – Kansas City Star, Top 100 Books “Everyone in A Good Fall struggles with past and present, and Ha Jin requires dynamic change of them all&these understated clashes of culture reveal careful thematic design and provide an almost 360-degree view of this select human experience: The concerns of people everywhere trying to make a better life come alive, one deceptively simple story at a time.” – Miami Herald “Jin employs a simple, workmanlike style to match the lives of his characters. But instead of feeling flat-footed, his unvarnished prose adds a no-nonsense charm to the stories.” – Chicago Sun-Times "[Jin] is a master of the straightforward li≠ he makes the most of his spareness. As in Chekhov''s late work, his writing (which is mostly stripped of adjectives and adverbs) covers a lot of ground quickly-no-frills sentences about Chinese immigrants who lead no-frills lives in New York" –The New Republic “In short, the storyteller''s art is richly on display here. Ha Jin has a singular talent for snaring a reader. His premises are gripping, his emotional bedrock hard and true&You might even call it: captivating.” – The Washington Post “His masterful storytelling persists - meticulous, droll, convincing, populated with memorable characters - not to mention the indelible portrait of an immigrant life he gives us. What is also consistent is his prowess to study and reveal, often with heartfelt humor, the compromised and damaged heart and soul, and the impact of time and history on ordinary people.” – San Francisco Chronicle “12 engrossing, visceral tales about the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants in America&Jin’s prose (and particularly his dialogue) is baldly direct, without flourishes but not without nuance.” – Christian Science Monitor “A collection of sublime moments&Perhaps Jin''s point is that despite all the suffering and turmoil involved in living in America, the strong may triumph here after all. It''s a message worth hearing these days.” – Denver Post "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant." -Entertainment Weekly "Ha Jin’s ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic&The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin’s sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories." –Booklist "Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people&" – Library Journal “In A Good Fall , a lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend’s parakeet; a Chinese professor attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student; and young children change their names to more American-sounding ones, unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents. Also included are the rich imagery, attention to detail and wry humor that are Jin’s stock in trade and that, when taken together, offer-as fellow writer Francine Prose has noted-‘a compelling exploration of the . . . terrain that is the human heart.’” – Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star “The author, whose novel Waiting won the National Book Award in 1999, writes with warmth and humor about what it means to be a bewildered stranger in a strange land, no matter where one is born.” – People Magazine “This may be Ha Jin''s best work yet, his stories often ascending to the mystical penumbra we expect of Singer, Malamud, or O''Connor.” – The Huffington Post “In this new collection of stories, former Emory University professor Ha Jin reflects on the life of Chinese immigrants in America, crafting each fleeting portrait with a spare precision and attention to detail uncanny for a relative newcomer to the English language.” – Atlanta Magazine “In his first story collection since 2000, Jin offers 12 visceral tales that read with the immediacy of videotaped interviews. Set in Queens, New York, they illuminate the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants grappling with exploitative employers, demanding relatives, and the rub between American and Chinese attitudes towards family.” –Barnes and Noble Review, “The Best Short Story Collections of 2009” “Jin tells every character’s story with a mixture of compassion and humor, conveying the validity of his or her daily worries, but showing too that, as with all human complications, and no matter our cultural heritage, we are often our own worst enemies.”- BookPage "Has all the hallmarks of the works that arguably have made [Ha Jin] Boston’s greatest living author." - Boston Magazine "The essence of the short story [is] to tell the tale with as few words as possible but as many words as necessary . . . It is wonderful when done well. [Ha Jin does] very well indeed. . . . He shows how difficult it is for the Chinese to overcome the broad differences in language, lifestyle and beliefs they encounter here. Yet he also shows what keeps them coming and why they stay-economic opportunity and freedom." - The Advocate "Not to be missed. . . . A beautifully written, elegant, subtle, and yet always precise collection. . . . A Good Fall shows the daily struggles of immigrant life, but ultimately the hopefulness that can come with starting over." - Asian Review of Books "Jin continues his skillful and deeply felt exploration of immigrant conflicts. . . . The collection as a whole celebrate[s] immigrant resilience: the courage to embrace calamity, hit the pavement and keep walking toward a brighter future." - The Los Angeles Times "Quiet, careful, restrained prose-prose whose absence of flourish can, at times, make it all the more eloquent." – New York Times Book Review "In these stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories, we are reminded once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer." –freshfiction.com “Jin is a master of the straightforward li≠ he makes the most of his spareness&Jin’s forte is to begin with a clich of ‘the immigrant experience’ and then, with a light touch, to upend it, or stretch it to the breaking point, or chuckle over it, or recover the sweetness in it.” – The New America
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." Publisher's Weekly "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant."-Entertainment Weekly "Ha Jin's ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic…The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin's sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories."Booklist "Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…" Library Journal "InA Good Fall, a lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; a Chinese professor attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student; and young children change their names to more American-sounding ones, unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents. Also included are the rich imagery, attention to detail and wry humor that are Jin's stock in trade and that, when taken together, offer-as fellow writer Francine Prose has noted-'a compelling exploration of the . . . terrain that is the human heart.'" Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star "The author, whose novelWaitingwon the National Book Award in 1999, writes with warmth and humor about what it means to be a bewildered stranger in a strange land, no matter where one is born." People Magazine "This may be Ha Jin's best work yet, his stories often ascending to the mystical penumbra we expect of Singer, Malamud, or O'Connor." The Huffington Post "In this new collection of stories, former Emory University professor Ha Jin reflects on the life of Chinese immigrants in America, crafting each fleeting portrait with a spare precision and attention to detail uncanny for a relative newcomer to the English language." Atlanta Magazine "In his first story collection since 2000, Jin offers 12 visceral tales that read with the immediacy of videotaped interviews. Set in Queens, New York, they illuminate the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants grappling with exploitative employers, demanding relatives, and the rub between American and Chinese attitudes towards family." Barnes and Noble Review, "The Best Short Story Collections of 2009" "Jin tells every character's story with a mixture of compassion and humor, conveying the validity of his or her daily worries, but showing too that, as with all human complications, and no matter our cultural heritage, we are often our own worst enemies."-BookPage "Has all the hallmarks of the works that arguably have made [Ha Jin] Boston's greatest living author." -Boston Magazine "The essence of the short story [is] to tell the tale with as few words as possible but as many words as necessary . . . It is wonderful when done well. [Ha Jin does] very well indeed. . . . He shows how difficult it is for the Chinese to overcome the broad differences in language, lifestyle and beliefs they encounter here. Yet he also shows what keeps them coming and why they stay-economic opportunity and freedom." -The Advocate "Not to be missed. . . . A beautifully written, elegant, subtle, and yet always precise collection. . . .A Good Fallshows the daily struggles of immigrant life, but ultimately the hopefulness that can come with starting over." -Asian Review of Books "Jin c
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." Publisher's Weekly "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant." -Entertainment Weekly "Ha Jin's ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic…The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin's sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories."Booklist "Simple, beautiful... The freedom [Nan Wu] seeks is the freedom of art, more radical and dangerous than the merely political, and one that Ha Jin had confronted with powerful results." -O, The Oprah Magazine "Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…" Library Journal
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." Publisher's Weekly "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant." -Entertainment Weekly "Simple, beautiful... The freedom [Nan Wu] seeks is the freedom of art, more radical and dangerous than the merely political, and one that Ha Jin had confronted with powerful results." -O, The Oprah Magazine "Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…" Library Journal
"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." Publisher's Weekly "Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant." -Entertainment Weekly "Simple, beautiful... The freedom [Nan Wu] seeks is the freedom of art, more radical and dangerous than the merely political, and one that Ha Jon had confronted with powerful results." -O, The Oprah Magazine
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, September 2009
Library Journal, October 2009
Booklist, November 2009
New York Times Full Text Review, December 2009
San Francisco Chronicle, December 2009
Washington Post, December 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Description for Library
Ha Jin's first story collection since 2000; with settings in both China and America. For every collection, along with the Munro (previewed below).
Main Description
In his first book of stories since "The Bridegroom," National Book Award-winner Jin gives readers a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America.
Main Description
In his first book of stories since The Bridegroom was published in 2000 ("Finely wrought . . . Every story here is cut like a stone."- Chicago Sun-Times ), National Book Award–winning Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. With the same profound attention to detail that is a hallmark of his previous acclaimed works of fiction, Ha Jin depicts here the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily struggles-some minute, some grand-faced by these intriguing individuals. A lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; young children decide to change their names so that they might sound more "American," unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin's characters struggle in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to be loyal to their homeland and its traditions as they explore and avail themselves of the freedom that life in a new country offers. In these stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories, we are reminded once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.
Main Description
In his first book of stories since The Bridegroom was published in 2000 ("Finely wrought . . . Every story here is cut like a stone."- Chicago Sun-Times ), National Book Awardwinning Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. With the same profound attention to detail that is a hallmark of his previous acclaimed works of fiction, Ha Jin depicts here the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily struggles-some minute, some grand-faced by these intriguing individuals. A lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; young children decide to change their names so that they might sound more "American," unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin's characters struggle in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to be loyal to their homeland and its traditions as they explore and avail themselves of the freedom that life in a new country offers. In these stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories, we are reminded once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.
Main Description
In his first book of stories sinceThe Bridegroomwas published in 2000 ("Finely wrought . . . Every story here is cut like a stone."-Chicago Sun-Times), National Book Awardwinning Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. With the same profound attention to detail that is a hallmark of his previous acclaimed works of fiction, Ha Jin depicts here the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily struggles-some minute, some grand-faced by these intriguing individuals. A lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; young children decide to change their names so that they might sound more "American," unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin's characters struggle in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to be loyal to their homeland and its traditions as they explore and avail themselves of the freedom that life in a new country offers. In these stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories, we are reminded once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.
Main Description
In his first book of stories sinceThe Bridegroomwas published in 2000 ("Finely wrought . . . Every story here is cut like a stone."Chicago Sun-Times), National Book Award-winning Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. With the same profound attention to detail that is a hallmark of his previous acclaimed works of fiction, Ha Jin depicts here the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily strugglessome minute, some grandfaced by these men, women, and children. A lonely composer takes comfort in the songs of his girlfriend's parakeet; a group of young children declare their wish to change their names so that they might sound more "American," unaware of how deeply this will sadden their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin's characters struggle in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to their native land and traditions, as they also explore and take advantage of the newfound freedom, both social and economic, that life in a new country offers. In these deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories we are reminded again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.

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