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.
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.)
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Refreshing perspective on a different life
Posted November 28, 2009 by R. D. Tkachuk , West Vancouver, B.C.Strange but wonderful short stories. Keeps you wondering what it is that is so compelling that you have to get back to them as soon as possible. Plain, simple prose with a touch of melancholy, and only an occasional description of place or scene, in descriptions that at once you understand as foreign. Nothing pretentious in the style, but beautifully clean and precise.
Yet you don't see it for the simplicity. Like a one line drawing, or a splash of color as a painting, the stories unfold easily, and each one ends without ending..... pretty damn artsy to me.
November 23, 2009
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