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 strugglessome minute, some grandfaced by these men, women, and children.
A lonely composer takes comfort in the songs of his girlfriends parakeet; a group of young children declare their wish to change their names so that they might sound more American, unaware of how deeply this will sadden their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jins characters struggle in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to their native land and traditions, as they also explore and take advantage of the newfound freedom, both social and economic, that life in a new country offers.
In these deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories we are reminded again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.
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"With piercing insight, Jin paints a vast, fascinating portrait of a neighborhood and a people in flux." - Publishers Weekly
"This new work will be welcomed by any reader and is an excellent companion piece to The Bridegroom." - Library Journal
"Rich imagery...displays the author's poetic gifts, but some of these tales belabor the obvious." - Kirkus Reviews
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Xuefei Jin, who writes under the pseudonym Ha Jin, was born in 1956 in Liaoning Province in northern China. His father was a military officer. In 1969, at only 14 years of age, Ha Jin joined the People's Liberation Army based at the northeastern border between China and the former Soviet Union. While in the army he began teaching himself middle and high-school courses. After his military service ended, he taught himself English while working the night shift as a railroad telegrapher in Jiamusi, a remote frontier city in the Northeast. During this time he followed the English learner's program, hoping "someday to read Friedrich Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 in the English original."
In 1977, when colleges reopened after the Cultural Revolution, he passed ...
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