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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling, National Book Award-winning author Ha Jin displays his impressive storytelling gifts in this richly textured examination of contemporary China and the civil unrest at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Professor Yang, a respected literature scholar, suffers a stroke and is confined to a hospital bed. Now Jian Wan, Yang’s brightest student and future son-in-law, must suspend his rigorous studies to care for his mentor. Jian dutifully keeps watch as Yang begins raving madly, often pleading with unseen tormentors. Has Yang lost his grip on sanity, or is he no longer capable of hiding deeply buried, painful secrets?
©2002 Ha Jin (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC
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Critic Reviews

“Ha Jin’s empathy for his characters is matched by his unwillingness to give them a break. Reading him is almost like falling in love: you experience anxiety, profound self-consciousness, and an uncomfortable sensitivity to the world—and somehow it’s a pleasure.... Like the best realist writers, Ha Jin sneaks emotional power into the plainest declarative sentences.” ( The New Yorker)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By matthew on 09-20-11

Too much focus on a limited number of charecters

I am a big fan of this author and look forward to his upcoming book.I simply couldn't really get into the topic of a dying,Communist and his wishes for his star pupil for a different and more meaningful life than his own had been.

The parts that seemed to speak from the lead charecters psyche were all very interesting to me.I have lived in China for two years and often struggle to understand what a Chinese person is really thinking.

A Free Life was much more thought provoking and A Good Fall also had some really excellent stories as well.

I think Ha Jin is really the master of a good short story.I have read the Bridegroom this summer and the entry called Cowboy Chicken was the best one.It was funny and written from a Chinese young persons perspective.With so many KFC's in China now it is not only relevant,but also gives a clear picture of modern China as it becomes more and more like a western country.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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