Books by Ha Jin

THE BANISHED IMMORTAL by Ha Jin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 8, 2019

"Jin dutifully explores Li Bai's status as a major, high-spirited poet but with little of the vigor of his subject."
The National Book Award-winning Chinese-American novelist and poet sketches the life of one of his native country's foundational poets. Read full book review >
THE BOAT ROCKER by Ha Jin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 25, 2016

"The narrator ultimately realizes what an innocent he's been, and the reader shares the epiphanies of this pilgrim's progress."
Since emigrating from his native China, Jin has earned considerable renown for his poetry, stories, and novels (Waiting won the National Book Award in 1999). But he's never been known as a barrel of laughs. Read full book review >
A MAP OF BETRAYAL by Ha Jin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 4, 2014

"Subtle, masterful and bittersweet storytelling that operates on a number of different levels."
A plainspoken, even reticent narrative illuminates the complex loyalties of a Chinese-American spy, who considers himself a patriot of both countries. Read full book review >
A GOOD FALL by Ha Jin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2009

"Rich imagery—'drizzle swayed in the wind like endless tangled threads,' 'the streetlights were swimming in my eyes'—displays the author's poetic gifts, but some of these tales belabor the obvious."
First collection of short fiction in nine years from expatriate novelist Ha Jin (A Free Life, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
WAR TRASH by Ha Jin
Released: Oct. 5, 2004

"Another brilliant installment in Ha Jin's history of modern China (The Crazed, 2002, etc.), written with his usual understatement and clarity."
The Chinese-born American author offers the fictional memoirs (historically based) of a Chinese officer's difficult years as a POW in the Korean War—and the more difficult return to China after the ceasefire. Read full book review >
WAITING by Ha Jin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 4, 1999

A kind of Chinese Dr. Zhivago about a married army doctor who falls in love with a nurse during the Cultural Revolution, by Chinese exile Ha Jin (In the Pond, 1998, etc.). Starred-crossed lovers are the meat of tragedy the world over, and when political upheaval is thrown into the same pot, you—re almost guaranteed a pretty substantial stew. The focus of misery here is Lin Kong, a Chinese physician who serves as an officer in the Revolutionary Army. While a medical student in the early 1960s, Lin is pressured into an arranged marriage by his elderly parents, who choose Shuyu, an illiterate village girl who's as plain as she is good-natured and who devotes herself wholeheartedly to providing every possible comfort for Lin and his parents. From the very start, Lin's heart is never in the marriage, and after the birth of their only child, Lin and Shuyu sleep apart. The situation is helped somewhat by Lin's army career, which keeps him posted at great distances from home and allows him only 12 days furlough a year. Eventually, though, the charade wears thin. Lin has fallen in love with Manna Wu, a nurse assigned to his hospital, and the two wish to marry. But for that a divorce is necessary, and divorce is the one request that Shuyu doesn—t want to grant her husband. Even if she did, the Court probably would not comply'since divorce is looked upon with deep suspicion by Party functionaries fearful of bourgeois self-indulgence. The only loophole available is a clause in the marriage code that permits divorce without spousal consent after 18 years of separation. So the years tick on, bringing Lin and Manna gradually closer to their happiness. But waiting has its price—and in the end it becomes clear that it's been a high one. A deceptively simple tale, written with extraordinary precision and grace. Ha Jin has established himself as one of the great sturdy realists still writing in a postmodern age. Read full book review >