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Description - Waiting by Ha Jin

For more than seventeen years, Lin Kong, a devoted and ambitious doctor, has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in his traditional home village lives the humble, loyal wife his family chose for him years ago. Every summer, he returns to ask her for a divorce and every summer his compliant wife agrees but then backs out. This time, after eighteen years' waiting, Lin promises it will be different.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099287599
ISBN-10: 0099287595
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 128mm x 20mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Oct-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Waiting by Ha Jin

UK Kirkus Review » This fictional tale takes the gentle vein of the Wild Swans genre - recollections of Chinese rural family life and tradition - and gives it a sly twist. The heroes are Lin Kong, a doctor who leaves Goose Village to work in a military hospital, and Manna Wu, his girlfriend who is a nurse. The author, who left China for the USA in the mid-1980s, pitches the reader into his family's predicament from the very first sentence - 'Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.' The title of his book could not be more apt. Lin is a young man when we first meet him; he has fathered a child, Hua, but regrets entering the marriage which his villager parents had arranged. The village which is his home is more than a day's journey from the hospital where he is based, and he only has 12 days' leave every year. Manna comes to his room to borrow his books, and he gets to know her. She is an orphan and has already been abandonned by her first lover, Mai Dong.Their courtship proceeds slowly and with much decorum, and each year Lin promises to legitimise their union by severing the link with Shuyu; each year the pair reach the courthouse when Shuyu, urged by her bother, proclaims that she does not really want the divorce. And so the waiting continues. The storytelling is quaint, sometimes clumsy, but in its very syntax is illustrative of an ancient and pervasive mindset - that of correctness. Lin allows his fragile passion to be crushed beneath the weight of other people's opinions, while Manna's self-esteem is ravaged, along with her body, as she ages. The story itself is sad and full of regret, but flecked with moments of humour, even bawdiness. Shuyu emerges as one of the most engaging characters, despite or perhaps because of her limited vocabulary and placid acceptance of the slow-moving state of affairs. It's the opposite of an action tale, but that doesn't make it any less readable. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Ha Jin

Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 for the USA. He is the author of three novels, Waiting - winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction, and the 2000 PEN/ Faulkner Award - In the Pond, The Crazed, three collections of stories and three volumes of poetry. He lives near Boston and teaches at Boston University.

Books By Ha Jin

Boat Rocker by Ha Jin
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Liberation by Ha Jin
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Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin
Paperback / softback, July 2015
Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin
Paperback, October 2012