From the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting, a new collection of short fiction that confirms Ha Jin's reputation as a master storyteller.
Each of The Bridegroom's twelve stories--three of which have been selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories--takes us back to Muji City in contemporary China, the setting of Waiting. It is a world both exotic and disarmingly familiar, one in which Chinese men and women meet with small epiphanies and muted triumphs, leavening their lives of quiet desperation through subtle insubordination and sometimes crafty resolve.
In the title story, a seemingly model husband joins a secret men's literary club and finds himself arrested for the "bourgeois crime" of homosexuality. "Alive" centers on an official who loses his memory in an earthquake and lives happily for months as a simple worker; when he suddenly remembers who he is, he finds that his return to his old life proves inconvenient for everyone. In "A Tiger-Fighter Is Hard to Find," a television crew's inept attempt to film a fight scene with a live Siberian tiger lands their lead actor in a mental hospital, convinced that he is the mythical tiger-fighter Wu Song.
Reversals, transformations, and surprises abound in these assured stories, as Ha Jin seizes on the possibility that things might not be as they seem. Parables for our times--with a hint of the reckless and the absurd that we have come to expect from Ha Jin--The Bridegroom offers tales both mischievous and wise.
Ha Jin's spare prose, subtle wit, and surprising plot twists make for a read that is both quick and memorable.
New York Times Book Review
His literary vision, like his subjects thus far, is Chinese, and the English language not his calling but his arbitrary fate. But his eye for detail, his great storytelling talent -- these universal gifts suffuse his work and make 'The Bridegroom' a genuine pleasure.
Jin uses this collection to exhibit his strong writing and storytelling skills with his laconic use of words.
It's difficult to think of another writer who has captured the conflicting attitudes and desires, and the still-changing conditions of daily life, of post-Cultural Revolution China as well as Ha Jin does in his second collection, which follows his NBA-winning novel, Waiting.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
I haven't read the entire book. However, I did read "Saboteur" and it was an excellent literary work. Mr. Chiu does something we all wish we had the guts to do at times. He could be classified as somewhat psychotic. This was a great... Read More
Rated of 5
by Brent Mullins
I disliked this book, because the way some of the stories build up and have a horrible ending. Also I dislike the way the author writes. Sometimes he will say things backwards, or even improper english.
The true story of how a small, terrified, lonely boy, plucked from his life in rural China, became one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. One part Falling Leaves, one part Billy Eliot, this is an unforgettable memoir of hope and courage.
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