From the award-winning author of Waiting: a spare, haunting tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries - China and the United States - and two families as it explores the complicated terrain of love and honor.
When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father’s diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary - an astonishing chronicle of his journey from 1949 Shanghai to Okinawa to Langley, Virginia - reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed. The trail leads Lilian to China, to her father’s long-abandoned other family, whose existence she and her Irish American mother never suspected. As Lilian begins to fathom her father’s dilemma - torn between loyalty to his motherland and the love he came to feel for his adopted country - she sees how his sense of duty distorted his life. But as she starts to understand that Gary, too, had been betrayed, she finds that it is up to her to prevent his tragedy from damaging yet another generation of her family.
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The very first Ha Jin book that I COULD put down.
Although I am a huge fan of Ha Jin who has read every book and short story by him, I found the characters and dialog two-dimensional and unbelievable. As someone who has traveled and worked in China I always found Jin's books to be absolutely representative of the environment and people. In this latest book, the characters and dialog are so flat that I found myself not caring what was going to happen next.
I have enjoyed other books narrated by Angela Lin (Nanjing Requiem) and thoroughly enjoyed the performance and book.
Yes, I'm glad I listened to it, but hope the next Ha Jin book recaptures the character and story driven realism I have come to expect from his work.
Sino-American spy novel
No. I got it the first time and I'm happy with that
Gary. He is emblematic of the immigrant caught between 2 worlds
This is a nice introduction to Sino-American relations during the cold war told in a fictional format. The characters are interesting, and the events that Gary, the protagonist, deals with cover the gamut of Chinese-American cold war history However.I was, not moved or emotionally invested in any of these characters, as much as I enjoyed the story.
The narrator does a good job in switching between Chinese and North American voices.Overall, I enjoyed it but I doubt that I will read/listen to it again.