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Random House, Inc.
"In Waiting, Ha Jin portrays the life of Lin Kong, a dedicated doctor torn by his love for two women: one who belongs to the New China of the Cultural Revolution, the other to the ancient traditions of his family's village. Ha Jin profoundly understands the conflict between the individual and society, between the timeless universality of the human heart and constantly shifting politics of the moment. With wisdom, restraint, and empathy for all his characters, he vividly reveals the complexities and subtleties of a world and a people we desperately need to know."--Judges' Citation, National Book Award

"Ha Jin's novel could hardly be less theatrical, yet we're immediately engaged by its narrative structure, by its wry humor and by the subtle, startling shifts it produces in our understanding of characters and their situation."--The New York Times Book Review

"Subtle and complex--his best work to date. A moving meditation on the effects of time upon love."--The Washington Post

"A high achievement indeed."--Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books

"A portrait of Chinese provincial life that terrifies with its emptiness even more than with its all-pervasive vulgarity. The poet in [Jin] intersperses these human scenes with achingly beautiful vignettes of natural beauty."--Los Angeles Times

"A simple love story that transcends cultural barriers--. From the idyllic countryside to the small towns in northeast China, Jin's depictions are filled with an earthy poetic grace--. Jin's account of daily life in China is convincing and rich in detail."--The Chicago Tribune

"Compassionate, earthy, robust, and wise, Waiting blends provocative allegory with all-too-human comedy. The result touches and reveals, bringing to life a singular world in its spectacular intricacy."--Gish Jen, author of Who's Irish?

"A remarkable love story. Ha Jin's understanding of the human heart and the human condition transcends borders and time. Waiting is an outstanding literary achievement."--Lisa See, author of On Gold Mountain
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Ha Jin's Waiting , the 1999 winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

Baker & Taylor
An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong finds himself torn between two very different women--the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love and the traditional, meek, and humble woman to whom his family married him when they were both very young. National Book Award & Pen/Faulkner Award Winner. Reprint. 125,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2000
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 9780375726958
Characteristics: 308 p. ; 22 cm


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Apr 03, 2019

I don't know what book my fellow commentators read but the one I read was pathetic in so many ways. I found the use of language to be awkward, not very interesting, sophomoric. Characters who I could not empathize with, the whole set-up of the control of divorce by the party line, as plot, boring, and the stultifying atmosphere bleak and unpleasant. I thought at first that it was interesting to see how life was lived under communist China's regime, but after awhile, the story just bogged down in the tawdry details of a sad situation which would only drag on. I can't believe how this book was lauded and awarded. I'm still WAITING for a better book!!!

Feb 20, 2019

An interesting "love story". One that could only be written by an 'older man'. Ha! Also interesting - a Chinese writer that only writes in English. It gives good insight to living in China during the Cultural Revolution. Very tightly constructed - and as a result, a quick read. Even after finishing the book, though, I am still thinking about the characters. Always a good sign. :-)

RogerDeBlanck Jun 30, 2018

Taking place in China, Waiting examines one man’s dilemma to escape his arranged marriage of nearly twenty years by divorcing his wife. Lin Kong is a successful and respected physician in the Chinese People’s Army. He has been a loyal servant of his family and country, but his passions belong to Manna Wu, a nurse at the hospital where Lin practices at. The novel charts Lin’s eighteen years of frustration to divorce his wife, while at the same time the local government and hospital administration keep a watchful eye on him. They would prefer he adhere to a restrictive civil code of exemplary moral conduct. Lin’s plight illuminates the predicament of an individual trying to pursue happiness under the monitoring glare of China’s Communist Republic. This novel is one of Ha Jin's best works.

Oct 28, 2017

This is a fun fiction to read with a dash of reality mixed in. I particularly enjoy the description of the brother-in-law who is such an antagonist and I can name a few people I know in my life that has such a diabolical mind. I want to laugh or cry about some of the twist in the story line.
At the end of the novel, I want to kick Dr. Kong in the ass. How can someone be so passive and conservative that they ruin their own life? What's the point of living? Idealize romanticism vs practical reality which will win out? Which is better? At the end of the novel he kind of get what he deserved. I sense the author doesn't care much for the straight and narrow. I personally tend to stay away from such types because its kind of aggravating to witness their choices.

BostonPL_LauraB Mar 02, 2016

I was a little worried that the writing in this was going to be like other major award winners - over fanciful and pretentious - but thankfully, it wasn't. This novel wasn't bad, and I quite like the writing, but unfortunately the plot (of which there was not much of) was slow and boring. When I arrived at the end of the book, I found that I couldn't really give any reasons to read this book, and so I wouldn't immediately recommend this novel. Because although it wasn't bad, it just wasn't particularly memorable either. This is pretty firmly in the "meh" category for me. However, if you already have the intention of wanting to read this novel, I wouldn't tell you not to read it either. I don't know if any of that make sense, but I think it pretty much describes a 3/5 star book for me.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 16, 2014

In this winner of the National Book Award, Ha Jin portrays contemporary China after the Cultural Revolution. The limitations imposed by tradition conflict with his characters’ modern expectations for love. His haiku-like prose thoughtfully details one man’s determination to find love, no matter how long the wait.

Jul 30, 2014

Recommended reading for those who are attracted to "emotionally unavailable" partners.

Oct 25, 2012

Just discovered this author. Loved the book especially the note on which it ended - cruel humour, but so funny and so, simply HUMAN and man-like :)

May 16, 2012

What struck me was its honesty. You may downright dislike some of the characters, it’s almost impossible not too as they seem to make such ludicrous life choices. Once I turned off my inclination to judge, to shut down my mind set of always thinking like a westerner, I thoroughly enjoyed this simple, fable-like tale. Ha Jin offers poetic insight into a foreign way of life. I believe I came away from this with a little better understanding of Chinese society. Found it interesting that the author based this on a true story. Winner of The National Book Award of 1999

hermlou Oct 30, 2011

Takes place in Communist China. Dr. Lin Kong is married to Shuyu and falls in love with Manna, a nurse in the hospital. There is strict regulation of a courtship and a strict rule about having only one child. Interesting story includes details of customs and meals which differ from ours, but the emotions are the same. I enjoyed the plot and writing style.

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SPL_STARR Jun 23, 2015

"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."


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