- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (5 October 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099287595
- ISBN-13: 978-0099287599
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Waiting Paperback – 5 Oct 2000
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"Beautiful and compelling" (Daily Mail)
"Dreamy and beautifully written... Reading it will take you into a different world altogether" (Marie Claire)
"A deliciously comic novel" (The Times)
"Imagine if Romeo and Juliet had been made to stretch out their passion for 18 years, without consummating their love. Now imagine them in China during the crazy bureaucracy of Mao's Cultural Revolution, unable to talk in private let alone kiss...the insights into Chinese culture and the complexities of human longing are beautiful and compelling" (Daily Mail)
"A classic folktale...an extraordinary novel" (Independent)
The winner of the 1999 US National Book Award for Fiction, a poignant and deliciously funny love story, set in China during and after the Cultural Revolution.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
One can appreciate how author Ha Jin was deftly able to present sympathetic characters here. Despite his committing a despicable act in divorcing a good wife, we can still feel badly about Lin Kong's plight. Ultimately the novel is about desire and waiting for its fulfillment. Lin Kong desires a woman who thrills him mentally and sexually. Manna Wu desires a husband who can provide her with a family. Shuyu desires to achieve family unity (and honor) by being an obedient wife. Even China desires to shed itself of its past and move forward into the 20th century. They all wait, but eventually the change they have been waiting for happens. But does reality match up with fantasy?
A hard story to read, how interesting can it be to read about a character that is put off by official sanctions and an ineffectual nature from marring his beloved for 18 years?
Best to remind ones self that Waiting won both the National Book Award in 1999 and the 2000 PEN/ Faulkner Award.
Ha Jin takes us to China during the troublesome years of the Mao era and into the early Deng Xiaoping period to see the stressful existence of an Army doctor contorted by his environment constraints and his own inadequacies, and yet by stories end, leaves the reader with enough to linger long over the working of the human condition. Being a Good Man is sometimes not enough.
Awards well earned by an author who found his own reasons not to return to China following the events of June 1989.
The story was written while a professor of English at Emory University; he formally taught Literature at Boston University.
Lin is a person who is entirely shaped by others, what people think and how they react to him. Everything is analyzed; nothing is felt. The wife, Shuyu, is almost unbelievably complacent, but again, that's the role that the culture assigned her. Manna, the woman who waits eighteen year to finally marry him, shows the most independent emotion, but she also is so restricted by the culture. This is a sad book in many ways. Lin thinks at one point: "How we're each sequestered in our own suffering" His life is an example of unintended selfishness; he simply knows no other way to be. He has no ability to emotionally connect with those who should be closest to him.
It is so subtly sad that it is humorous at times. The deception and posturing of the characters is so exaggerated in places that it is laughable. Laughable to us in modern American; seriously repressive to those lives we see in this novel.
The writing is beautifully done; the reader can almost feel the chill which seems to pervade the buildings and the air itself. It is a dreary and lifeless environment. The buildings are functional, concrete, where a few cuttings of red paper on the window can create a "festive" feel. Lin, in his effort to be perfect, simply forgets to live. He was "certain ..between love and peace of mind he would choose the later. He would prefer a peaceful home." Just too bad that love and relationships have to mess it all up.
If you want an exciting read, this isn't it, but if you want to meet a man who is the exact opposite of Zorba, the Greek, come meet Lin Kong.