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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In The Crazed, novelist and poet Ha Jin brings forth another tale of life in the moral and political labyrinth of China. Set in 1989, it tells the story of a young graduate student, Jian Wan, who is assigned the task of caring for his stroke-addled poetry instructor. Listening to his former mentor babble about everything from an extramarital affair to his regrets about pursuing an academic life, he's moved to set aside his own scholarly aspirations and seek an "active" existence. The plan destroys both his relationship with his fiancée and his future in his own country. Wan, in an attempt to prove his worthiness, tries to join the protesters at Tiananmen Square. He almost loses his life in the process and is forced to flee China.
Though Ha Jin witnessed those historic events from afar (he was a doing graduate work in English at Brandeis University when the Tiananmen massacre took place), he uses them to great effect in this book, the first draft of which was prepared in 1988. His previous works include the poetry collections Between Silences and Facing Shadows and the novels Ocean of Words, Under the Red Flag, and Waiting, for which he received the National Book Award for fiction. Sam Stall